An interview with humanitarian and holistic therapist Dr. Marcy Cole


Marcy Cole, Ph.D is a Holistic Psychotherapist, Bestselling Co-Author, Speaker, Community Mobilizer, and Humanitarian Visionary.

Dr. Cole is a blog author for the Huffington Post, as well as Thrive Global, and contributed to two best-selling anthologies:
Living Proof: Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper and Get Your Woman On: Embracing Beauty, Grace and the Power of Women.

She has been featured on television shows including Dr. Drew’s Life Changers, Millionaire Matchmaker, Braxton Family Values, Issues with Jane Valez- Mitchell on HLN, and Taboo on the National Geographic channel.

Marcy founded a women’s group called First Tuesday LA, offering on and off line programming to promote social connectivity, professional networking and social service.

In the fall of 2011 she launched a virtual platform for women without children: Childless Mothers Connect, providing an online haven to share their stories, resources, struggles and triumphs with one another.

Marcy is also the Founder and Executive Director for the Non-Profit organization ”CMomA” (Childless Mothers Adopt), offering opportunities to childless single women, and couples who adopt the organizations mission of helping orphaned children in need through adoption, foster care and mentorship.

Instrumental Music from the song JUST SIMPLIFY
Sung by Michel Pascal
Composed by Paul Pesco
Lyrics Michel Pascal and His Holiness Dalai-Lama, from the book “Instants Sacres”
© 2016

“Survive, Thrive, Pay It Forward” discussion with Connie Rankin, Author of “God Gave Us Wings”


Connie Rankin is an author and CEO of an award-winning commercial real estate company in Houston, Texas.  She has received numerous awards that include the Women of Influence by the National Real Estate Forum, Business Star, Women Business Enterprise Advocate by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and the Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Businesses by the Houston Business Journal. She has appeared on CBS, Fox 26, on the cover of Business Today magazine, and a contributing writer for Huffington Post.

Connie’s passion is mentoring women, entrepreneurs, leaders and people just starting out on how to achieve success. She has transcended her childhood of life-threatening injury, sudden poverty, and even being homeless to now one of success. Her book “God Gave Us Wings” illustrates the “survive, thrive, pay it forward” of the inspirational women in her book.

Instrumental Music from the song JUST SIMPLIFY
Sung by Michel Pascal
Composed by Paul Pesco
Lyrics Michel Pascal and His Holiness Dalai-Lama, from the book “Instants Sacres”
© 2016

The Reality of Suicide

Since December 1, 2016 I have had seven patients in my practice with suicidal thoughts, 5 of the 7 individuals were under age 16.

In all of my years as a psychiatrist in private practice I have not experienced this level of acuity of patients in crisis simultaneously since I worked on the inpatient unit at Grady Memorial Hospital while doing my residency at Emory University.

4 out of 5 of the children that I helped move from suicidal crisis into stabilization experienced varying levels of verbal abuse in person and on social media which motivated me to write my post, “Cyberbullying Takes Lives,” and to interview Lauren Batchelder last December.

In my book, “Mental Health and How to Thrive” I shared that there has been a rise in suicide according to the April of 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention Report the number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise since 1999 in everyone between the ages of 10 and 74, with greater annual percent increases after 2006. In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999. The suicide rate increased every year from 1999 to 2014 among both women and men and in every age group except those 75 and older.

My colleague, Allen Y. Tien M.D. MHS tweeted, “more scientific evidence for mental health harms, doubled risk of depression of those who bully and are being bullied” and shared a graph and the article, JAMA Psychiatry February 2016 article, “Association of Bullying Behavior at 8 years of Age and Use of Specialized Services for Psychiatric Disorders by 29 Years of Age.

I am not sharing these statistics to instill any fear, just the opposite. Awareness about the importance of OUR mental health is the first step in taking action. If you, your child or someone you love is experiencing a change in mood, increased stress, or is emotional struggling do not ignore it. I find that teachers and coaches have been invaluable in letting parents know if their child is experiencing distress that is “out of the ordinary.” It is important for parents to pay attention to any changes in academic performance, patterns of socializing, or any other physical or emotional signs that your child might be suffering. Pediatricians and primary care doctors are a great resource for referrals to therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists for a mental health evaluation.
Here are some more resources:

NAMI http://www.nami.org
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

I think it is also vital as a society that we change the way we think, talk and act about mental health. I choose my words carefully when talking with my patients and use terms like “your mental health, you wellbeing” instead of “illness and disorder.” I find that there is so much stigma around needing emotional help and that words matter.

For more tips, tools and facts check out, “Mental Health and How to Thrive.
“When individuals thrive, WE all thrive.” ~Dr. Denise

Genetic Influence on Medication Response

Pharmacogenetic testing aims to genetically guide prescriptions to improve patient response and decrease side effects. We are living at an exciting time in science and pharmacogenetic testing is another tool that can guide a more precise treatment plan. Factors such as the environment and lifestyle choices (nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc) are always taken into consideration when arriving at the best treatment plan for each individual.

On my recent podcast I had the honor of interviewing Daniel Mueller M.D., Ph.D who is an associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and is the Head of the Pharmacogenetics Research Clinic at Center for Addiction and Mental Health and is a clinical psychiatrist at the Mood and Anxiety Program at CAMH.

Dr. Mueller and I discussed the importance of genetic factors, specifically the genes encoding for CYP450 liver enzymes. CYP450 enzymes are a group of mixed function monooxygenases that are responsible for metabolizing almost 50% of all marketed drugs (*Gibbs et al.,2005).

Polymorphisms (genetic variation) in the CYP450 genes yield enzymes with different pharmacodynamics (the study of how the drug affects the organism) and pharmokinetic (the study of how an organism affects a drug) properties. An individual may be classified as an extensive metabolizer (EM), intermediate metabolizer (IM), poor metabolizer (PM), ultra-rapid metabolizer (UM) (*Gibbs et al., 2005). Dr. Mueller discussed the benefits of using pharmacogenetic testing for clinicians to identify outliers who are non-EM status and who carry higher risks for non-response, adverse events and side effects.

*Gibbs, C., Fisher, P., Hernandez, J., Mrazek, D., O’Kane, D., Snyder, K., 2005. Cytochrome P450 Enzyme Genotyping: Optimizing Patient Care Through Pharmacogenetics, In: Services, M.R. (Ed.), pp. 1-10.

Dr. Mueller and I discussed that at present the use of pharmacogenetic testing is not mainstream (yet?) due to cost and the need for continued research. If you have a history of poor response to medication or intolerable side effects ask your doctor if a consideration for a pharmacogenetic test would be beneficial to maximize your treatment and wellness plan. It is important to remember that pharmacogenetic testing is a tool that is utilized in combination with your doctor’s expertise and that there are multiple factors that play a role in your health and wellbeing.

Thank you Dr. Mueller for your contributions to science and psychiatry.

For more tips check out: Mental Health and How to Thrive

“Liars, Lying and More Lying” with Dr. Deborah Budding and Dr. Denise


Dr. Deborah Budding and Dr. Denise on “Liars, Lying and More Lying”

Dr. Deborah Budding is a board certified neuropsychologist who works with children, adolescents, and adults in the Los Angeles area. She has a background in literature and magazine publishing prior to earning her Ph.D. in psychology. She is co-author of “Subcortical Structures and Cognition: Implications for Neuropsychological Assessment,” which was published in 2008, as well as peer-reviewed articles related to subcortical contributions to cognitive and emotional function, including a Consensus paper on cerebellar contributions to both movement and cognition published in 2013. She has strong interests in neuroscience, art, and video games, not necessarily in that order. Dr. Budding is a supervising faculty member at Harbor-UCLA’s neuropsychology training program and is increasingly involved in research involving transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). She has particular interest in the cerebellum’s contributions to non-motor function, in brain-behavior relationships in neurodevelopmental disorders, and in finding ways to amplify the voices of women and people of color in science education.

Psychiatry & Meditation for Daily Stress

Being healthy and well requires a level of physical and emotional awareness for ALL of us.

This is why I prescribe mindfulness as part of every mental health thrive plan for children, teens and adults.

As a board certified adult and child psychiatrist that has seen thousands of patients I view a practice of mindfulness as “exercise for the brain” that sets the foundation for optimal mental health. The long term benefits of a meditation and/or a mindfulness practice are endless and can include an improved immune system,reduced anxiety, improved mood, increased focus, improved cognition, improved compassion and more. Many people report a greater sense of connectivity to something larger than themselves and a mind that is open to more possibilities.

Did you know that 70-80% of life long mental health issues start before age 24? That is why I believe every tip, tool or strategy for mental health and thriving is important for my patients and for ALL of us. As a mother, wife, and psychiatrist my mindfulness mantra “Be loving. Be kind,” allows me to stay connected to my higher self and to recycle stress into love throughout my day.

I believe the integration of meditation as a universal wellness tool into our homes, offices and schools will have long lasting societal health benefits. Last spring I highlighted the Harvard neuroscience research on meditation in my post “Create The Best Version Of Yourself With Meditation and Mindfulness.” In another post, “The Mindfulness Prescription”, there were many tips and tools included about the practice of mindfulness. I am passionate about wellness and prevention and envision current and future generations of children having the tool of meditation as a standard “mind medicine” for wellbeing.

Last year I met Michel Pascal. Michel is a meditation teacher and author of “Meditation for Daily Stress: 10 Practices for Immediate Wellbeing”, to be released this April.

It is my goal to integrate a more formal understanding of meditation into my practice of psychiatry and to share my experience of implementing behavioral plans that include cognitive behavioral strategies and mindfulness techniques. Michel and I co-produced “Emergency Well-Being,” a video series discussing the importance of bridging psychiatry and meditation, which was released on February 17, 2017.

For more tips check out: Mental Health and How to Thrive

Pharmacogenetics with Dr. Daniel Mueller


Dr. Daniel Mueller, M.D., Ph.D (@mueller_dj) is an associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and is the Head of the Pharmacogenetics Reseach clinic at Center for Addiction and Mental Health and is a clinical psychiatrist at the Mood and Anxiety Program at CAMH.

He has published more than 160 articles with the focus of his research being on an investigation of the genetic factors that predict response to antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

He has been awarded the Klerman Prize for exceptional Research in Clinical Brain and Behavior Science by the US based Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in 2013 and the Innovation In Psychopharmacology Award by the Canadian College Of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2016. He is a true pioneer in setting expert guidelines for patients and doctors in the area of pharmacogenetics, the branch of pharmacology concerned with the effect of genetic factors on reactions to drugs.

Instrumental Music from the song JUST SIMPLIFY
Sung by Michel Pascal
Composed by Paul Pesco
Lyrics Michel Pascal and His Holiness Dalai-Lama, from the book “Instants Sacres”
© 2016