April 5th, 2017. Caring for Self While Caring for Others.

Revitalizing Ourselves: Re-Awakening Our Aliveness

Harry Zeit MD, CGPP and Irina Dumitrache YTT

With the arrival of spring, let’s meet and reflect on the ways we cultivate vitality and aliveness in our lives.

From working with our body, to working with our emotions; from rekindling our relationships to utilizing mindfulness and neuroplasticity, how do we invoke pleasure and invite renewal?

We will watch some video of well-known contemporary clinicians and writers as a stepping off point to explore our own possibilities for transformation and deeper fulfillment in life.

Key Learning Objectives.

What is vitality?  How is it defined?  How do energy and vitality differ?

Explore various social determinants of vitality and aliveness.

Identify somatic determinants of vitality and aliveness.

Explore the role of neuroplasticity in movement towards vitality

Learn a somatic practice for increasing our sense of aliveness and vitality.




March 15th, 2017. Caring for Self while Caring for Others.

First Do No Self-Harm.

What do we Really Know About Self-Care Anyways?

Harry Zeit MD, CGPP and Irina Dumitrache, YTT

It’s difficult to open our browsers these days without someone offering us a better diet, or better exercise plan, or better regime of supplements.

At the end of the day, do we know – beyond the rhetoric – what really works in self-care?

And how about systems designed to help us?  Are they really helping, or are they primarily helping themselves?  Or are they, due to the vast influence of medical politics, acting within constraints so dense, that they minimize our distress and offer one size fits all solutions.   Do these “official” wellness responses sometimes feel more like cautious and inoffensive gestures of goodwill than practical sources of wisdom and practical, worthwhile information?  Do they provide us with what we need to stay healthy for our patients, our family and for ourselves?

How, as individuals, do our own personalized needs matter?  How urgent is it for us to create our own tailored self-care plan?  Where do we begin and who do we turn to; who can we trust to guide us with honesty and integrity?

As usual we’ll be offering cutting edge ideas and material.  We will also review some tools that will help you to regulate your body, emotions and nervous system, both at rest and while under duress.  There will be time for discussion and group sharing.

Learning Objectives:

Developing a personal self-care plan in a step-wise and holistic fashion.

Gain a better understanding of how betrayal trauma and moral injury sustain states of burnout and demoralization.

Deepen our knowledge base of the power of community and how best to draw strength from our social connections.

Experience several new somatic/mindfulness tools to regulate the nervous system and increase resilience.




March 1st, 2017. Main Speakers Series.

Trauma and its effect on the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual blueprints

Arrole Lawrence.

Traditional Canadian Aboriginal Healer and Teacher.

The lecture provides a description of how trauma can also pass from one generation to the next, impacting families, communities, societies and cultural structures.  We will explore how traumas of war or slavery can move through the generations, altering belief systems and shifting the DNA expression to manifest disease.  The lecture ends with a process to resolve or clear the ancestral histories in order to access internal wisdom.

Key Learning Points:

* Understanding the nature of trauma, emotional charge and the effects on the human body system.

* Trauma can pass from one generation to the next as unresolved, denied or repressed emotional charge that can alter DNA patterning and expression in individuals and families.

* The lecture ends with a meditation that allows participants to clear their ancestral history of trauma and altered gene expression, allowing the movement to greater health and vitality.

Arrole Lawrence is a Saulteaux healer and band member of the Keeseekoowenin First Nation located in Elphinstone, Manitoba. Before healing became his main focus, Arrole earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1993, and went on to work in economic and financial policy analysis. For the past 12 years, Arrole has worked exclusively as a First Nations healer and teacher. He travels extensively to aboriginal community health centres throughout South Central Ontario. He currently resides in Orillia, Ontario. As an indigenous healer, Arrole helps individuals to quickly resolve crippling physical ailments, patterns of depression, grief and trauma. Arrole’s knowledge of First Nations methods of accessing epigenetic blueprints and soul memory have led to accelerated and long term healing for clients.

Check out one of our past speakers, Dr Anna Baranowsky, interviewing Arrole here:




February 15th, 2017. Caring for Self while Caring for Others.

Becoming Embodied

Harry Zeit MD. CGPP and Irina Dumitrache, YTT.

In this presentation we will look at the neurophysiological process of embodiment and then move on to a practical exploration of embodiment practices and tools.

As well as assisting with your own self-care, these practices will all be helpful to share with patients.

By becoming embodied, we become more able to derive benefit from our various self-care pursuits, spanning the gamut from a self-compassion practices to high-intensity and endurance exercises.  Embodiment speaks to our contemplative as well as to our Spartan sides.

Through teaching, video and discussion, we will also cover tips for getting the most, as a physician or psychotherapist, from a yoga, exercise, or nutrition plan.

Bring your curiosity and your bodies.

In this talk, you will:

Define and deepen your understanding of two kinds of mindfulness, the latter (and less commonly discussed pathway) mediated by the insulae and involved with embodied awareness.

Understand the crucial role of embodied awareness in monitoring well-being and levels of stress.

Experience a somatic meditation aimed at deepening the embodiment process.

Participate in a mindful movement exercise aimed at cultivating embodiment.

There will be ample time for questions and discussions.

For further information on the presenters, please check out the November 16th, 2016 entry.




January 18th, 2017. Main Speakers Series.

Best Practices for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD

Ainslie Gray MD

ADHD is a complex disorder with varying types and severity of symptoms. Choosing the appropriate medical treatment should not be a “one size fits all” process. To properly manage ADHD holistically, clinical tools should be used to:
1. Assess the type and severity of symptoms
2. Review specific areas of impairment in the patient’s life across multiple settings
3. Identify and explore any potential co-morbid diagnoses.
Treatment requires exploring symptoms within the context of family, social life and work environments. This session will outline tools and recommendations for identifying an individual’s symptoms and levels of impairment in a clinical setting. A comprehensive evaluation process allows the clinician to choose an appropriate medication/dosage depending on the specific needs of the patient. Recommendations for ongoing treatment monitoring will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
– Outline key components of a holistic medical/educational assessment for ADHD (including best practices for including the family unit within the evaluation and treatment processes).
– Review available assessment and evaluation tools for individuals with ADHD symptoms. – Explore questions to raise with individuals and families in order to determine and evaluation co-morbid disorders.
– Discuss the current pharmaceutical options to support identified patients.
– Offer strategies to complement the best choice of medication/dosages for each patient type.
– Outline ways to communicate with other professionals to best support individuals and families in their home, community and work/school environments.

Dr. Ainslie Gray, M.D. is the Medical Director of Springboard Clinic and a family physician who has a focused practice in ADHD and related learning challenges. She is a leader in treating a variety of behaviour and attention issues in children and adults across the lifespan. As a strong advocate of comprehensive care for the “whole” individual and family, Dr. Gray has a unique ability to motivate people to capitalize on their strengths and to take charge of their diagnosis in all areas of their lives. Dr. Gray is an appointed board member of the Canadian Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Resource Alliance (CADDRA), with a special interest in facilitating continued medical education to improve ADHD awareness and treatment among family physicians.
– Focused family physician in ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
– Graduate of McMaster University, Faculty of Medicine
– National Board Member: CAADRA


Next Event: December 7th, 2016. Main Speakers Series.

The Emerging Paradigm: Multiplicity and the Psychospiritual nature of being.

Derek P. Scott RSW

Midway through the second decade of this millennium the emerging model of the psyche seems to be that of multiplicity.

John Rowan, author of “Subpersonalities, The People Inside Us” (1990) regards the development of subpersonalities as “autonomous or semi-autonomous parts of the person”, noting that it “seems to be a regular temptation of people working in this field, to try to classify the subpersonalities in some way”. He refers to many theorists including Freud on the superego, Jung’s complexes, Ferrucci’s subpersonalities, Watkins and Johnson’s ego-state theory, Berne’s model of Transactional Analysis, Stewart Shapiro’s concept of subselves, the Voice Dialogue work of Hal Stone and Sidra Winkelman, the “potentials” of Alvin Mahrer, Virginia Satir’s work with Parts and the work of Genie Laborde in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).

Similarly Richard Schwartz, founder of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model observes that, “Self psychology speaks of grandiose selves versus idealizing selves; Jungians identify archetypes and complex; Gestalt therapy works with the top dog and the underdog; and cognitive-behavioural therapists describe a variety of schemata and possible selves… (suggesting) that the mind is far from unitary”

Schwartz’s model appears to be the most effective for addressing intrapsychic dynamics when compared with the above models that incorporate multiplicity. More than simply a description of multiplicity, Schwartz articulates a structure that makes sense of the ‘chaos’ while simultaneously providing a method for bringing greater peace into the system.

In addition to the many parts that constitute the system, we also all have a Self, according to Schwartz. The Self is characterized by the presence of the following qualities: calmness, clarity, curiousity, compassion, confidence, courage, creativity and connected-ness. His understanding of Self corresponds somewhat to the “willingness, openness and… gentle, kindly, friendly awareness” present in mindfulness-based treatment approaches but what makes his approach truly effective is the recognition that all parts are functioning in ways that they regard as necessary for maintaining the health and integrity of the system. While some may be destructive in their present state these behaviours may be seen as a result of a good part forced into a bad role.

Self is not merely the passive observer, it has “emergent compassion, lucidity, and wisdom to get to know and care for these inner personalities”

Schwartz’s model uniquely affords us a move away from the pathogenic view of the human being that has so dominated our field. He invites us into an understanding that no part of the system is unwelcome; no thoughts, feelings or behaviours are deemed as inherently bad.

Additionally this model wholly supports the client as the locus of control, fostering dependence on the client’s Self and not the therapist’s expertise.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will

1. Become familiar with/deepen their understanding of the IFS model

2. Be able to discern the role of proactive aspects of the protective system from reactive aspects of the protective system

3. Be invited to reflect on their own “parts” that engage in the therapeutic process

4. Develop an understanding of how to develop and facilitate greater self-compassion

Derek Scott is a registered social worker and certified IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapist with an international private practice via Skype based in London Ontario. He has worked in the field of counselling/therapy for 35 years. He is a popular guest lecturer at the University of Western Ontario and has presented at numerous national and international conferences. He is a published author writing in the area of the Internal Family Systems and grief.

Derek’s personal and professional experiences with multiple loss and burnout have taught him the value of attending to his own parts’ needs and he brings these values to his work with professional caregivers. He balances his work life with time with his 12 year old daughter and his three dogs.

Check out his excellent Youtube Site at: https://www.youtube.com/user/derektherapist

OMA Section on Primary Care Mental Health

November 16, 2016. Caring for Self while Caring for Others.

Courage, Grit and Self Compassion: Why Resilience Matters.

Harry Zeit MD, CGPP

Historically, we physicians have not viewed ourselves as a highly stressed group. Changes in the delivery of health care and growing knowledge about the nature of secondary trauma and unremitting stress have begun to foster a new awareness concerning our individual and collective well-being.

North American peer-reviewed literature continues to reveal growing rates of burnout in our profession.  Currently, over fifty per cent of practicing physicians show some signs of burnout.  By the time these signs are present, both our clinical abilities and our health – both in the short term and in the long term, are being actively impacted.

How do we face and overcome the feelings of helplessness and despair that can arise while practicing in an eroding health care system?  How can we find the strength, the self-compassion and the connection we need to continue to thrive in an increasingly hostile work environment?

Now entering its fifth year, the Caring for Self while Caring for Others series will continue to offer up-to-date information, room for engaged dialogue and practical somatic tools to help regulate the stress-affected autonomic nervous system and HPA-G axis.

For this year’s series, I’m recommending you look at:

Resilience: Hard Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, by Eric Greitens, a Navy Seal and Writer.

First Do No Self-Harm: Understanding and Promoting Physician Stress Resilience, edited by Charles Figley, a pioneer in the field of stress, vicarious trauma, PTSD and resilience.

In this talk you will:

1.) Review some definitions of resilience, identifying one that works best for your own needs.

2.) Learn to face and master pain (when pain is inevitable).

3.) Identify the power of team work and group resilience (a relatively untapped source at this point in our profession).

4.) Learn a yoga breathing technique (a modification of brahmari pranayama) to add to your self-care toolbox.

Harry Zeit MD currently works full-time practicing trauma therapy and psychotherapy. He is certified in sensorimotor psychotherapy, finishing the final level of training in 2013.

Dr. Zeit previously worked as an American board-certified emergency physician in Cambridge and Toronto, Ontario, between 1983 and 2005.

Dr. Zeit is the education chairman of the OMA Section in Primary Mental Health Care/GP Psychotherapy.  In this role, he moderates the Wednesday Main Speakers Series.  He created the Caring for Self while Caring for Others Series to meet what he perceived to be a growing need for our profession to face challenges around unremitting stress and burnout, and to differentiate these physiology-driven processes from a mental health model which favoured treating burnout as anxiety or depression.

Dr. Zeit will again be assisted this year by Irina Dumtrache, YTT, who brings her skills as a yoga teacher, yoga practitioner and integrative nutritionist to this accessible and hands on program.

Dr. Zeit’s previous blog is available at: