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Treating Trauma and Addiction Through Nutrition and Herbal Remedies with Leslie Korn – Episode 39

Treating Trauma and Addiction Through Nutrition and Herbal Remedies

Show Notes

Dr. Leslie Korn has an international naturopathic practice. In this interview, she discusses how she came to the field of natural healing, through her own illness and healing in Mexico in the 1970s. She returned to the US for several graduate degrees in health and wellness, and then began to split her time between the US and Mexico. Leslie explains how she has been able to travel, teach, and write while keeping a private practice and a pro-bono clinic in rural Mexico.

Interview Highlights

[3:00]  Leslie talks about how she started her career. She went to Mexico in 1973 after dropping out of college. She was looking for an adventure and landed in rural Mexico. She got sick and this brought her to women in a nearby village for help, who taught her herbal remedies. From there she found her calling as a naturopath.

[5:40]  Leslie shares that she stayed in Mexico for ten years, studying with village healers. She started a free health clinic, then returned to Boston to get a master’s degree in cross-cultural healing.  After this, she went back to Mexico, then back to Boston for another master’s degree, in public health.

[8:24]  Leslie explains how she set up a small practice in Boston, doing cranio-sacral therapy and polarity therapy. She then decided to train as a psychologist and psychotherapist in Boston.

[9:45]  Leslie received another degree at Harvard Medical School in 1985, drawn there by the desire to bridge the gap between physical and mental health.

[10:55]  Leslie explains how she previously maintained two practices, one in Boston and one in Mexico, and traveled between the two.

[11:55]  Leslie talks of how she was federally funded to bring her work into cities in Massachusetts. She also discusses getting a doctorate in behavioral health.

[14:45]  A main theme of Leslie’s work is advocating for healthy nutrition for physical and mental health. Her passion is the treatment of trauma and addiction through good nutrition and herbal remedies. This led to her most recent book, intended to train psychotherapists in nutrition and genetics.

[17:45]  Leslie discusses the layout of nutritional therapy in the US, and how she educates psychotherapists on how to integrate nutrition therapy. She explains what’s legal for them to do and what must be farmed out to other health care professionals.

[22:07]  Leslie discusses her toolkit as a healer. She starts with diet and chemical substances. She looks for eating habits and other patterns that cause inflammation in the body. She educates her patients on what substances cause what reactions in the body.

[26:10]  Leslie talks about supporting people to change their old eating habits. She advocates for slow, steady change to habits, even across a few years. She takes the long view.

[27:57]  Leslie speaks about specific interventions for anxiety. Lactium, synthesized from casein, is one products she likes. It increases relaxation, targeting neurotransmitters. Kava, an herbal remedy, is another anti-anxiety aid.

[31:30]  Leslie talks about her business. She works with patients over Skype, and works probono in her clinic in Mexico. At the Center for World Indigenous Studies, she works with tribal communities. Her private practice in the US and abroad facilitates her pro-bono work.

[33:50]  Leslie was funded by the NIH to bring polarity therapy to tribal communities. She encourages others to seek out funding, do their research.

[35:04]  Leslie also supports her practice with writing, teaching, and doing research.

[35:34]  Leslie explains how word of mouth has brought patients to her private practice. Teaching at conferences and writing books have reached people too. She’s always had more than enough work.

[37:20]  Leslie speaks about how doing what she wants to do has brought opportunities to her. There’s energy behind intention, staying close to her inner passion.

[38:10]  Leslie shares that she teaches full-time (40 hours a week) online in a doctoral program and a mental health licensing program. She sees two clients a day and she’s working on a mental health cookbook.

[40:20]  Leslie offers advice on how to work for social justice and still make enough to live on. She says it’s about networking, connecting with like-minded people. Her advice is to be an independent worker and know how you like to work, and start as a volunteer in a community.

BIO – Dr. Leslie Korn, Olympia, Washington

Leslie has a PhD in Behavioral Medicine with sub specialties in Feminist Theory and Traditional (Indigenous) Medicine from the Union Institute, Ohio. She also has a MA degree in cross cultural health psychology from Lesley University, Cambridge, and a MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health.

She has been in providing integrative health services since 1977. She has lived and worked in the jungle in Mexico where she founded a free natural medicine center. At this center she delivered health services to the local indigenous population and directed wellness, fitness, yoga, culinary and  graduate-level and continuing education health seminars for over 25 years. She is currently in private practice specializing in mental health nutrition and post-trauma therapy.

Leslie is the author of several books including, Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature and the Body (Routledge, 2012) and Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health: A Complete Guide to the Food-Mood Connection (Norton, 2016) .

Leslie was a clinical fellow in psychology and religion and appointed clinical supervisor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has served as a clinical instructor and clinical supervisor at Harvard Medical School, clinical director of the New England School of Acupuncture, Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies and on the Mind/Body Medicine faculty of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.  I have been funded by the NIH to conduct Integrative medicine research and I was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico.  You can find out more at: http://www.drlesliekorn.com and http://www.healthalt.org/

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Replays of past episodes can be found here.

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