Women, Food and Health Interview with Marc David and Dr. Kelly Brogan

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Marc David interview with Mary O’Malley

Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating Dr. Kelly Brogan, who is Board certified in psychology, psychosomatic medicine, reproductive psychiatry and integrative holistic medicine. She’s the Medical Director for Fearless Parent and an advisory board member for GreenmedInfo.com, Fit Pregnancy, Pathways to Family Wellness and lots more. In this compelling interview, they discuss how Dr. Brogan helps her patients get off what she calls “the ping pong” effect of trying alternative medicine then end up back in the conventional model, which can make it challenging for patients to engage a linear progression of betterment and wellness.


Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Here we are back in the Future of Healing Online Conference. I am here with an amazing woman, practitioner, a thought leader, Dr. Kelly Brogan. Welcome, Kelly.

Kelly: Great to be here, Marc.

Marc: I’m really glad you’re here, thanks so much. Let me take a minute or two and brag about you for our viewers and listeners. Dr. Kelly Brogan is Board certified in psychology, psychosomatic medicine, reproductive psychiatry and integrative holistic medicine. She practices functional medicine, which is a root cause approach to illness as a manifestation of multiple interrelated systems.

After studying cognitive neuroscience at MIT and receiving her MD from Cornell, Dr. Brogan completed her residency and fellowship at Bellevue and New York University. I used to live right there, by the way. She’s one of the nation’s only physicians with perinatal psychiatric training who takes a holistic, evidence­based approach in the care of patients with a focus on environmental medicine and nutrition.

She’s also a mom of two and an active supporter of women’s birth experience. She’s the Medical Director for Fearless Parent and an advisory board member for GreenmedInfo.com, Fit Pregnancy, Pathways to Family Wellness and lots more.

She practices in New York City and lectures all over. Dr. Brogan, it just seems like you kind of burst onto the scenes and have really been holding an important voice I think in  a lot of places in health and wellness and mental health and physical health. Can you just give us a sense of how you got on your journey as a doctor, a psychiatrist, a  healer? What prompted you?

Kelly: Sure, yes. First of all, that’s very flattering to hear. I’m not sure my impact has been quite that widespread but I do have a big mouth and I’m trying to spread the word about a couple of things.

I have a very sort of defiant personality, to my parents’ chagrin, and have always been somebody who felt that I had to pave my own path. I have been very interested in   brain health and in behavioral medicine since college since I worked on a suicide hotline at MIT. Apparently that’s quite a relevant role to play at that college unfortunately.

In studying psychiatry I really felt like I had relinquished my interest in women’s health and all of the wonderful things around caring for women that I think come very natively to me. There’s a specialty in psychiatry called reproductive psychiatry, as you mentioned in my bio. It’s sort of a burgeoning specialty. There’s about 300 or 400 specialists around the world. The nature of the specialty is to explore the literature and try to help patients around informed consent.

If they are going to take a medication during pregnancy or breastfeeding, what does   the eminent literature support? I spent a number of years medicating women with all sorts of medications after they would consent, given the information I had to share with them. It wasn’t until my own pregnancy during my fellowship that I began to sort of    look beneath the hood a bit. I began to research obstetrics and sort of what my OB at the time was telling me about what my options were around ultrasound frequency, around birthing parameters in the hospital.

It’s like looking behind the curtain at Oz when you realize that it’s a house of cards that pharma built, that we as doctors are really inhabiting. Once I started to investigate that and obstetrics, then I finally shone the light on psychiatry with the help of a very important book by a journalist named Robert Whitaker called Anatomy of an Epidemic.   I remember reading it in 2010 and just crying because it was so disabling to me. I    could barely meet with a patient again and pick up my prescription pad, which had   been my only tool before then.

It really inspired an activism in me. I care for patients, I come to my office every day, I love my job but I also have a burning core that things need to change and that transparency and patient empowerment and grassroots activism are the answer to that. That’s really what I wake up thinking about and go to sleep ruminating about every day.

Marc: All right, good for you. Kelly, in your years of practicing psychiatry and seeing patients, do you notice any trends when it comes to people’s health or people’s mental health that just sort of catch your attention? Sometimes the research might show this, that or the other thing, or not. The clinical eye notices trends, notices patterns. What do you tend to see?

Kelly: I think most of the clinicians you’re speaking to in this summit would share my perspective. I was even just talking to a friend about this the other day. When I started practice functional medicine, whatever it was, six or so years ago. I took a left turn   from my conventional training. I used to see a patient who maybe had some PMS symptoms and was considering coming off of her Zoloft at some point before pregnancy. It was easy. It was very simple interventions. It was really quite straightforward.

These days I have patients coming in who are my age, look fairly well actually but have come in with 24­hour home health aides because they cannot even function. They cannot hold a job. Nobody knows what’s going on. There’s a constellation of physical impairments that precludes seeing any given one specialist because it’s so broad and encompassing of their physiology. These patients have often seen many other functional medicine or alternative medicine providers and haven’t necessarily benefitted from targeted interventions.

It’s a testament to how sick we are becoming and in what complex ways. That’s really what has started to help me orient patients that I work with to my ethos. I’ve gotten patients well again in a relatively short period of time, mostly through dietary intervention. Then I’ve had patients take an antibiotic, start on a proton pump inhibitor, get a vaccine or start on birth control and not disclose that to me, let’s say for a month  or two, and then come in symptomatic. Often the undoing of that, particularly in the realm of vaccines and antibiotics, can be extremely complex and sometimes outside of the realm of what’s possible, I think.

To begin to think about health more through a lens of radical holism, through a lens of holding your body to a level of integrity that really precludes pharmaceutical interventions is where I get my best outcomes. I think it’s when patients try, and it’s understandable, right? They try alternative medicine, maybe it helps a little bit and   then there’s a crisis and they end up in the conventional model for dealing with the crisis. Then they try to undo that. It’s this ping­ponging that I think can make it very challenging for patients to engage a linear progression of betterment and wellness.

There’s no doubt that we’re getting sicker.

Marc: I want to say I love the image of the patients ping­ponging back and forth but I see that so much. I think it’s such a great piece to underline because it’s almost like we have  this dichotomy set up for us. You either do the holistic practitioner who might not give

us the kinds of interventions that we need or just doesn’t have the whole picture and then we bop over to the medical model that we’ve been used to for 40 or 50 years, which can bring us down a black hole sometimes.

I’m wondering how do you as a clinician when you’re starting to help people kind of graduate from the pharmaceutical model and work in a different way, how is that for you going against the grain, so to speak?

Kelly: Well, it’s fine. It’s where I belong. I’m only comfortable here. This obviously will   resonate with you. I think a concept that is very operative in my practice, and actually even my engagement with my friends and family around their health, because of   course all of manage as the point people for the health of our friends and family for the most part. It’s this concept of fear. We know that it is potentially one of the most determinant factors in clinical outcomes.

I think I’m just built this way. I don’t know that I cultivated it, although I do work on my spiritual practice fairly diligently. I am somebody who is fairly unhindered by potential consequences. In fact, I feel what I’m doing is true and right.

When I work with patients I think I transfer a bit of that. There’s probably some effect clinically of that, just being around my perspective. For example, if I have a patient  who wants to come off of psychiatric medication, and that’s a lot of what I do these days in my practice is tapering people off of medications they’ve been on sometimes for 30 years, I won’t start the taper until we have worked around an empowerment model where they actually feel they can relinquish it. If they are white­knuckling it and they feel like the moment that last dose is given that the other shoe’s going to drop  and what’s going to happen, I don’t have my safety net and I’m naked out here in the world. It’s just this fear­driven process. It’s really a waste of their time and my time to do it because it’s not going to work.

In psychiatry there is a really fascinating body of literature that supports the role of expectancy. It’s this word for essentially the placebo effect or the no­cebo effect. I love this topic because when I was in training the idea of a placebo was really just this nuisance to sort of get out of the way and how do we solve for it. It’s a fascinating phenomenon in human physiology. Why some people have an effect versus another is actually something that’s being studied the way we are studying any other epigenetic phenomenon.

In psychiatry it’s particularly relevant. I talk about a study that came out a couple months ago. I think it’s just such a good example of this. Patients were treated on Prozac. These are the patients who would tell you, “Yes, Prozac totally saved me. I’m doing great. I’m really so, so thankful that it exists.”

They were told that they were going to be randomized to either placebo or continued on their dose. This was a crossover. Continued on their same dose that they took on Monday, now on Friday they’re just going to take it again. The mere suggestion that they might be given a placebo resulted in depression symptoms and loss of gains in both groups across the board.

The power of belief in psychiatry has been studied I think most thoroughly by a psychologist named Irving Kirsch who has done really brilliant analyses. Two very important ones, one in 1998 and one in 2008, where he really started to look at the power of what he calls the active placebo effect. Essentially in these trials when patients are given let’s say Prozac versus a placebo, Prozac has side effects that a placebo obviously doesn’t. Immediate side effects. Headache, gastrointestinal, activating side effects.

As soon as those kick in it’s like all of these decades of direct to consumer advertising programming about what this medication is going to do to fix your brain are activated. These are healing pathways.

When you’re using an inert placebo as opposed to an active placebo then you’re really doing what’s called breaking blind. You’re no longer engaging the classical model of    an experiment. It’s the belief that is powering, according to him, the vast majority if not the totality of the drug’s effects. Maybe it’s particular to psychiatry, but maybe not.

That’s where he’s focused.

We have to really look at the types of beliefs that we are supporting and engendering. The ones that I obviously feel most strongly about are those that suggest that it’s all in here, it’s all inside. The complexity, in chiropractic it’s called vitalism. The complexity and the regenerative potential of our physiology in concert with our psychology, with  our mindscape is limitless. It’s just a matter of tapping into it. We sort of the humor is involved in thinking that we’ve cracked the code.

I was a neuroscience major at MIT and I really loved studying that because it’s the allure of thinking we’ve figured it out. We’ve figured the brain out is so preposterous. Psychiatry really is one of the greatest offenders. Reducing human behavior almost to one chemical, serotonin, maybe norepinephrine and dopamine, when the complexity   of what goes on on a second basis in the brain not only involves 100 at least neurochemicals, but also the immune system which when I was in college we didn’t even know it existed in the brain. Clearly there’s a level of unraveling complexity that should be exciting. It shouldn’t be something we resist or sort of feel even daunted by. I guess it’s about your perspective.

Marc: Talking about perspective, here we are living in a time where it seems that depression is around us. It seems to be there. There’s a lot of depressed people, there’s a lot of people on anti­depressant medications. What is depression to you? Forgive me if this  is an impossible to answer question but I would love to hear the impossible, what is depression? From your perspective why do you think it’s with us to the degree that it  is?

Kelly: That’s a great question. It’s the leading cause of disability in the world. We have about 11% of Americans on psychotropics. We have toddlers. It’s cradle to grave medicating. Our foster system is particularly implicated. We have one in four women of   reproductive age, which is of course my demographic of interest, potentially moving   into a pregnancy and all of the largely unexplored epigenetic effects of medication exposure every day.

It does beg the question do we have more depression? Is it better diagnosed? I think it’s both and, right? It’s that we do have more depressed people in the world. Why? Depression is this largely meaningless wastebasket term, in my opinion, for all of the malaise that is the accumulated toxicant burden of our daily life.

When we look at concepts like mitochondrial dysfunction, we look at concepts like dysbiosis, we look at nutrient deficiency, we look at endocrine disruption. The  inevitable clinical outcome of those exposures in a vulnerable person are going to include the symptoms of depression: mood changes, sleep changes, energy changes, changes to sexual appetite, changes to metabolism. These are sort of epidemic proportions of people who are dealing with this sort of layer with disruption. It’s almost become a new normal.

Then, of course, there are the people who are more disabled and more severely impacted. They’re often caught in sort of the chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, sometimes Lyme disease nets. They always have psychiatrists involved, right? Psychiatry has become sort of the last stop for a lot of patients for whom conventional medicine is ill equipped to help.

For example, your conventional doctor runs a thyroid panel and your TSH is 4.1, it’s within normal limits. That’s all they check. They’re not interested in whether or not there’s any autoimmunity or whether free hormones are optimized. You’re going to be told your thyroid is fine, you’re fine, I see nothing here and you probably should see a psychiatrist. In that way the limitations of conventional diagnostics which, of course,  are totally antiquated at this point really set patients up for psychiatric visits. So does our lifestyle.

Then there is the other I guess darker underbelly of how we are potentially promoting epidemics in two ways. One is because of diagnostic criteria ballooning. We just had the DSM­5 come onto the scene and if you look at how the DSM has ballooned from the 1950s this isn’t evidence­based medicine. It’s essentially a dictionary of terms that a bunch of white men sit around a table, most of whom have pharmaceutical ties, and they come up with terminology.

Maybe some of them have good intentions and they want to help patients and they want to encompass more people, bring them into treatment, but I certainly don’t have that rosy perspective on it. I do have concerns that what we are in fact doing is creating a broader pharmaceutical market without any objective testing to preclude prescription. You got a psychiatrist’s office and what do they do? They chat with you sometimes for 15 minutes and you get a prescription. There’s no blood work, there’s no spec scan, there’s no EEG, there’s nothing.

There’s not even an awareness that that should be a gatekeeping diagnostic procedure just so that we’re not medicating people inappropriately or dangerously. There’s not even a fear of liability because it’s built into gold standard practice now to medicate before you even think.

Then there’s, as I mentioned, Robert Whitaker’s work, which really asks the question that you’re posing, which is we have escalating rates of disability from depression. We

also have escalating treatment, right, as I mentioned. Shouldn’t those be inversely correlated? Shouldn’t treatment yield less disability? Isn’t that actually the point of it?

He explores a lot of the long­term data, most of which is not industry funded, and essentially comes to the conclusion which, of course, is very provocative but makes sense to me that it’s actually the medication treatment itself that is promoting disability. We are turning something that might have been a single episode of depression in the 1960s, spontaneously resolving within 12 weeks, certainly within a year, we’re turning that into a lifelong condition that essentially disables patients chronically. Where their quality of life is implicated, where their work potential is diminished, etcetera. There’s a lot of subjective parameters.

We have now I think a better understanding of how and why antidepressants, for example, but he really leaves no stone unturned. He looks at stimulants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, all of them. Why these medications force the body to adapt in a way that is wholly unnatural. In a small segment of people   it may actually be an adaptive effect called by Joanna Moncrieff, another psychiatrist, called a drug­based effect.

In the same way that alcohol might help with some anxiety, that’s a drug­based effect.  In some people antidepressants and the adaptive effects that the body engages may actually be helpful for them, but in the majority of patients their body adapts over time, they lose whatever potential transient benefit if they ever had one, and now they’re in a state of a dependent relationship with a chemical that is sometimes impossible to    come off of.

That’s frightening. I used to prescribe. I never sat a patient down and said, “This is what we’re going to do for now but there is a possibility if we don’t reevaluate this in three months that you could never, ever get off this medication until you die.” I never said that to anyone. Now I see it. Now I see it in the flesh that this is a real issue.

These medications have been around now for the better part of several decades and so we see the long­term effects. I absolutely think Whitaker is onto something.

Marc: It seems like we become so accustomed, it’s almost as if pharmaceuticals and antidepressants, it’s kind of like candy. We give it out and it’s motherhood, it’s there, you just do this, we don’t question it. The fact that we’re giving it to our youth, we’re giving it to our toddler, we’re giving it to our pets for goodness sake boggles my mind.

To me sometimes it just feels like all part of just sort of the larger psychiatric picture  that we face which just feels like there’s a sense of fear and disempowerment as soon as there’s a glitch in the system, like, “Oh, I’m not feeling good, I’m feeling depressed, do something.” There’s almost like a panic button, it feels, that happens when I have any symptom.

Kelly: Yes, and it’s because we have been divorced from any sense of traditional wisdom. Particularly here in America but we’re really co­opting that in other countries as well with our capitalistic influence. Any sort of appreciation of spiritual growth. When’s the last time you went through a really dark time or had a tough time? I bet that you came out of it shifted. That you came out of it evolved and that you took something from it that you don’t want to give back. You took something from it that you value.

Today we are raising children and we have certainly my generation is really living under the illusion that stress is pathological, it’s something to be suppressed. It’s not just that. We feel that way about fevers, aches and pains. We’ve lost this sense that it’s actually a message from our body that something is off.

Our body is highly skilled at recalibration, right? Homeostatic is a powerful force. When that is not possible it’s because there is a burden so large that the body is not able to respond without support.

This concept that there’s a free lunch, that we can just suppress a symptom, I referred to it as the whack­a­mole phenomenon. It doesn’t work. It just absolutely doesn’t work that way. It’s, again, that fear that I believe the industry in partnership with media has really grabbed onto. We worry. It’s part of survival instinct. Rather than worrying about resolvable conflicts or allocating our fear appropriately to external stressors, we worry that we don’t have it in here to fix ourselves. We don’t have the intuition, we don’t have the wisdom and we don’t have the resources.

I think a lot of it is sort of like a crisis of that wisdom feeling disconnected from the natural world and the fact that we can’t just bomb germs into non­existence. I mean, have we not learned that that doesn’t work? Everybody across the country knows that antibiotic­resistance is an issue, right? I think most. That’s entropliaic consciousness. We know that there’s no way we’re going to beat Mother Nature. It sounds so cliché  but it’s totally true. It’s a ridiculous and preposterous notion.

I really try to educate patients about relocating that fear and really fearing pharmaceutical interventions for appropriate reasons, for documented adverse effects. Things like Tylenol, that that is an over the counter medication is astounding to me because of its lethality let alone its potential for chronic adverse effects. This is something that we should be afraid of, not a fever, for example, which is a native reflex aimed at recalibration. That’s what it’s for. It’s not just an annoying thing that your body is doing to get in your way.

We’ve just like totally lost patience, I think, really. It’s patience for ourselves. I’m an incredibly inpatient person. I’ve been working on this for many years. I get it. I totally understand wanting results quickly, wanting results yesterday. If you don’t work with your natural physiology and you don’t embrace distress that is appropriate to circumstance, then I think you’re really going to end up with an unfulfilling life when you look back. It’s a risk.

Marc: To me you brought up what I think is a fascinating topic which in a way is our relationship with time these days. Oftentimes this, too, shall pass when it comes to the fever, when it comes to the symptom. It seems like, yes, there’s this rush to get it over with so I can get back to whatever this thing is that I’m doing which is I’m working, I’m being busy, I’m important and all these things have to happen. We are busy and we do have important things to do. Yet time is so precious, it feels like. We want to make    sure we speed up out of whatever seems to be stopping us.

Kelly: Yes, yes, absolutely. Again, I can relate to that. There is in the cultivation of mindfulness this idea of watching oneself with a dispassionate eye. There is in that an ability to identify things that aren’t serving you and to really start to look at what it is  that you want. What is it you want out of this experience in life? Sort of Death of a Salesman style, we all know that the drudgery of our hyper stimulated existences for the most part is not where we derive fulfillment, right? People are living for their vacations, they’re living for this, “I’ll be happy when,” type of a thing.

One of the most powerful books I’ve read. I love reading books, if that’s not obvious. They influence me a lot. A book called Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s short and sweet and it’s really sort of like straight to the point. Whereas I’ve read a ton of mindfulness texts and some of them are prescriptive and they tell you what to do in

four weeks and whatever. This is sort of no instructions, when you’re ready to live this way read this book and just do it. Just do it.

The idea is that you have a choice. You always, always have a choice to engage in lamentation, to engage in sort of the cluttered mess of our minds and to take the bait, to take the bait that if only you do this, if only after that, if I just fix this. It’s so urgent and compelling to try and focus to the point of acute anxiety on resolving our  problems, but it never makes us happy. Think about it. Think about how many problems we’ve resolved and so many of us are still searching.

Personally, I’m a bit of a nihilist myself so personally happiness is not something I think is the Holy Grail, but I do think that a sense of ease and freedom and purpose are very important qualities for human existence.

When I’m working with patients I’m not really looking for them to come in and say,  “God, I just feel so happy.” I don’t think that’s ever happened. I am looking for them to come in and say, “You know what? I feel ready for whatever’s coming and I’m okay   with it. I’m okay with whatever’s coming.” It’s a sense of resilience that I think you cannot cultivate when you are in a dependent position relative to a paternalistic   medical model and a pharmaceutical intervention. You have to be in charge. You have to be in this position of agency.

Marc: What do you see? How do people get there? Is it just, okay, they show up in your office and I’m ready and that’s who comes to you? Do you have to educate them? What do you see as the process by which people sort of arrive at this doorstep?

Kelly: That’s a great question and one that I continue to refine. I obviously have synergy with some patients from the moment we meet and then there are patients who I really have to drag down the path. That’s challenging.

I do think there is an element of readiness that sometimes I’ll meet a patient for a consultation and I’ll say, “I’m going to give you your road map. I have a sense you’re not ready yet, but when you’re ready it’s here. My door is open if it’s in six months, if  it’s in two years.” I’ve had that happen. I’ve had patients come back to me after years, two or three years, and say, “Okay, I’m ready. Ready to roll now.”

I know that this doesn’t work for everyone but I have a very uncompromising approach where there’s essentially like dietarily, for example, I hold a fairly rigid bar. You  probably could poke a lot of holes in that approach from a psychological perspective, but I do think that once you show patients that they are capable of adhering to a protocol that they otherwise would have felt they had no room for, we can expand to encompass a lot of stuff.

You show them they’re capable of doing it and then the results are self­evident. That becomes its own turbine engine. That becomes its own motivating force. I really can start to let go of it because they’ve already demonstrated to themselves that it was all in front of them.

Then there’s frankly minor help that I could offer in terms of nutrient support and supplementation and then resources for little crises that do come up. I really do think that it’s part of engaging a strict initial protocol that yields very high results, and then  the patients can sort of ­ it’s a process of self­education and connecting dots. I think that’s really all I offer people some of the time, is making sense out of this mess of   dots in their life and trying to help them understand that this causes that. If I remove  this or restrict this then I don’t suffer that. If I choose not to then I might suffer that, but at least I know why.

It’s so, so basic and simple but many of us need external accountability for that. I think that’s natural. A lot of us need trainers at the gym, nutritionists to keep us on the  straight and narrow or a physician to help frame the entire process.

Marc: By the way, just so you know, I wouldn’t call your approach rigid when you set a high bar. To me it’s more like it’s thoughtful, it’s clear and it’s targeted. As you just said, sometimes that is what we need. Sometimes what we need is a little more vacation  time and a little more spaciousness and a little more rule breaking. A lot of us, wow do we need some very clear guidelines to move through.

Kelly: Right, because how many times have we half­engaged a diet or tried half a bottle of supplements or went to a doctor once and then followed up eight months later? Not  only is that sort of a waste of time and money but it also sends this sort of unempowering message that your efforts in the natural world are low yield. I resent   that. It’s a meta­issue because it’s absolutely not the case. The yield that I get and that my colleagues get in natural medicine blows conventional outcomes out of the water.

I have radical cures in my practice. I’m cool with that because that’s the patient’s perception. On a weekly basis when I was prescribing, it never happened one time. Not one time. I have developed sort of a mentorship relationship with Nick Gonzalez, who’s a holistic doctor here in New York. I think he’s one of the most shining examples. His outcomes using just targeted nutrients and detoxification support and his particular approach to healing, he has outcomes that have never been evidenced in clinical literature in the cancer realm, period, end of discussion. I think that’s profound.

How could you ever say that natural medicine is a window dressing treatment the way Memorial Sloan Kettering and all these integrative hospitals here in the city treat it.

You’re here for your chemo and radiation, and if you want you can go do a little yoga and maybe take some ginger root. When you really put it as the thrust of your treatment the potential for outcomes is just profound, it’s inspiring. It’s a bit about framing that perspective, I think.

Marc: It shows us what’s possible. It seems and this is where people like you, myself, once  you understand this, I was just blown away, by the way, when you said when I was just doing pharma and giving people prescription drugs I didn’t have cures. I didn’t have    the supposed miracle changes happening. Wow does that say something about what happens when a practitioner transforms her or his practice and steps into a brave new world. The possibility is wild.

Kelly: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. Particularly if it’s a partnership that is predicated on a mutual respect for the potential of the work. Those are when the best outcomes happen and it’s, I do believe, because it has to do with the fact that when you meet a patient with the right energy you can help them to shed fear they don’t want. They  don’t want to live their life feeling like they have to run to the doctor every second and they can’t live without pharmaceutical meds and they’re just putting out all these little fires all the time. People don’t want to live that way.

They want, I think, like a shepherd. You should never fake the funk. If it’s not your natural orientation it would make no sense to practice that way. Certainly if you feel passionately about it sometimes I think people just need to feel like they have partners in the journey. It can be that simple.

Marc: Kelly, where do you see the future of healing going when it comes to mental health, when it comes to who we are as physical beings, as emotional beings? Or I can say what would you like to see as we move into the future?

Kelly: I think they sort of dovetail because rather than being sort of pessimistic and end of days oriented around where things are going in terms of the medical industrial complex and associated legislation seeking to rob us of our civil liberties around health, I do think that on a consumer level, on a patient level, there is a growing dissatisfaction and a growing awareness of the limitations of a model that is so antiquated. Medical schools should be shut down today apart from emergency rotations, let’s say.

Frankly, I can’t even imagine being a conventional doctor in practice, how you meet patients with their myriad complex needs. It must be a horrible experience. We know that doctor burnout is a very real phenomenon.

There are a lot of efforts to expose corruption and lack of checks and balances at the level of the government and its association with various medical authorities and the pharmaceutical industry. I do think that there is an awareness that something is up.

It’s like the Bucky Fuller quote, it’s this idea of creating something else. Not working within a paradigm but creating something entirely different and making sure that it is so appealing that you don’t even have to really advertise it, it speaks for itself. That’s    really what I think all of us are doing, fighting within the paradigm. While I am    interested in doing it, interested in associated activism, it’s going to be a very slow   road. A much quicker path is to just start to live well and feel well. Then people will    ask, “What are you up to?”

I have two children who are never sick, never take an antibiotic, never have an ear infection. I had people ask me, “What do you feed them? You’ve never been to an emergency room?” These sorts of questions. Some of it is just a matter of truth in advertising and the medium can be the message. I do see that. It’s really a lot about social media, unfortunately. All of those EMS we’re absorbing every day off of our devices.

It’s a matter of the transfer of information happening at the speed of light in ways that it never could have occurred at times of needed revolution in the past. I like to remain

optimistic that we’re all interested in learning more about what we don’t know about health and human condition and remaining open to learning.

The articles and abstracts that I read on Pub Med every week are so exciting and mind blowing. There’s a lot of very smart people out there doing very cool things to elucidate our relationship. About the microbiome, for example, or our relationship to plants and  the information that we receive from them on an epigenetic level. It’s just really cool science out there. I think there’s enough of us trying to put a megaphone to those brilliant researchers that were allowed to get into the homes of the Ohio soccer mom. I think that’s really exciting. That will be my part.

Marc: Yay. Well, I so appreciate your perspective and your approach and your voice. I know that on one level stepping outside the system a little bit and seeing things from a different perspective comes natural for you. At the same time looking from the outside it’s a fabulous talent and a fabulous quality. Really thank you for all your amazing    work. How can viewers and listeners learn more about you, what you’re up to? How do we stay in touch?

Kelly: Awesome, I appreciate that, Marc. Coming from you especially. I have a website. It’s just my name, KellyBroganMD.com. I have a newsletter where I try to, again, digest these quarrels, make them clinically applicable. I call them snippets, so it’s just tiny blogs. I also write long, boring ones as well. I try to keep people updated because there is a ton of information to digest. I know very well that it’s hard to do that. Yes, that would be where to find me. I am on Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of it as well.

Marc: Thank you once again for being a leader in new psychiatry, new medicine. Much kudos to you and really appreciate the conversation, Kelly.

Kelly: Thanks, Marc. Thanks so much.

Marc: Thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Once again I’m Marc David on behalf of the Future of Healing Online Conference. Lots more to come, my friends. Take care.

Marc David interview with Mary O’Malley

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