FaLaLaLaLa ‘Tis the Season

Fa La La La La — Holidays & Altruism

“’Tis the season” — just those words can make some of us jubilant while leaving others close to tears with all the extra work and commercialism that come with the holidays.  Dr. Denise invited me to talk about stop seizures meds, gift-giving and gratitude during this sacred time of year.  Dr. Denise shares how she used Cognitive Reframing to change her own thoughts about the holidays.  Don’t worry, she explains what it is and how to do it in her unique, down-to-earth style.  We also talk about letting kids be kids and how to infuse our core essential values into the holidays and all year long.

Here are some of the links you’ll hear about in our Fa La La La La Show:

~Cathleen O’Toole, CoHost




Listen Here:

Rocking A Betrayal Episode: SHAME

It is with great care and discernment that Dr. Denise decided to tackle this very personal experience on her podcast.  Countless hours of prayer, meditation and consultation with trusted confidantes led her to share an intimate story of betrayal.  Why?  So many of us have felt we’ve been betrayed at one time or another:  your secret told, a partner who strayed, a financial associate who swindled.  Often times, our first response is to feel the heat of shame rise up.  How could we be so foolish?  What will others think?  Dr. Denise walks us through her betrayal, her decision to share with trusted friends and then a greater audience.  She and I talk about turning into shame, instead of running from it.  Her powerful story shows us how to take control of our own narratives by Rocking A Betrayal.

Listen Here:




Modern Prayer & Spirituality Summit

I wanted you to be the first to know that a very powerful and valuable FREE resource will be available to you starting December 1st . It’s called Modern Prayer and Spirituality, and this free video series is packed with tools, strategies, and insights from various experts in the field of spirituality, prayer and a relationship with the Divine, including myself.
This resource is a must have for anybody who has questioned their spiritual path or connection to the Divine.
Have you wondered what being spiritual looks like, where you fit in or even felt like there was more to experience, but don’t quite know what that is?
There are over 20 experts featured in Modern Prayer & Spirituality, and availability is limited so make sure you register now before it’s full.
Here are some of the topics that will be covered in the video interviews:
  • How to create a deep connection with the Divine without identifying with organized religion
  • How to incorporate Modern prayer into your spiritual practice
  • The power of meditation and intention
  • How to recognize the relationship and work with your Angels in your life
  • How to deeply and intentionally co-create with the Divine
  • What are limiting beliefs and how to clear them to open up possibilities in your life and practice
  • You also get to experience the work of every expert in an online retreat experience!
And much more…
Imagine being able to sit front row and listen to the top experts in the field of spirituality giving you insight about enhancing your connection with the Divine and creating a more personal spiritual practice. That would be empowering and invaluable!
Register Now and don’t miss out!

ALIKI ONE Launch! Inspirational Jewelry by Dr. Denise & Aliki Design Founder Dr. Denise Berger!


            It’s all Greek to me!  Full confession, a lot of the words and concepts that came up during a recent chat with Dr. Denise McDermott and Dr. Denise Berger did stretch the mind of yours truly.  But the stretch is definitely worth it.

The Dr. Denises (yes times two!) are teaming up with a most inspirational jewelry line — ALIKI ONE.  It’s inspired by Dr. Denise Berger’s Greek heritage.

And Dr. Denise McDermott’s spiritual footprint is everywhere in what she explains is the vibrational energy of the pieces.  With soul-nourishing meanings behind the bracelets and necklaces, the hand-crafted pieces take the wearer far beyond beauty.  For instance, the Siban bracelet inspires universal presence with this mantra:  “Believing in the unlimited potential of the feminine energy, seeing universal inspiration for all people, imagining possibilities without boundaries, prompting unity and the oneness in the universe.”

            ALIKI ONE also upholdS Dr. Denise and Dr. Denise’s desire to set a new standard for social enterprise.  Twenty-one (21!) percent of the sales price of each piece goes to an orphanage Children’s Educational Development (C.E.D.) Institute  in India founded by Lama Tenzin Choegyal.  Lama Tenzin’s ambitious Pink Pad Project, to aid women who are hampered by the stigma of menstruation in some Indian societies, will also benefit from Aliki One sales.

            Aliki One vibrates from Greece, to India, to the spirit of giving, providing true beauty with the mission to #InspireALL.



Listen here to this week’s Dr. Denise Show where I interview them both about the ALIKI ONE MISSION!

~Cathleen O’Toole, CoHost of The Dr. Denise Show

Siban (essence: the universe, universal presence)
Believing in the unlimited potential of the feminine energy, seeking universal inspiration for all people, imagining possibilities without boundaries, promoting unity and oneness in the universe

Siban (essence: the universe, universal presence)
Believing in the unlimited potential of the feminine energy, seeking universal inspiration for all people, imagining possibilities without boundaries, promoting unity and oneness in the universe


Karthia (essence: the heart, unity of heart)

Building awareness to the likeness of the heart spirit, shining light on shared experiences of love, honoring individuality and togetherness as the center to belonging and hope


Genetiki (essence: genetic code, gene expression)
Unlocking one’s higher consciousness, empowering a mind, body, spirit alignment as individuals, improving the collective human experience

Areti (essence: virtue, virtuous)

Living life with the highest intention of integrity, striving for character that produces happiness for all of humanity, developing honor through resilience and vulnerability

Elomi LIVE LIMITLESS Challenge Interview with Frederika Zappe & Laurel Nash!

I have partnered with Elomi for their Live Limitless Challenge, which is an extension of their existing Live Limitless campaign. It’s all about Elomi fans celebrating who they are. The Live Limitless challenge encourages Elomi’s fans to build on themselves and find even more confidence in their lives.
Elomi wanted to work with an expert for its Live Limitless Challenge, someone who could provide authority and guidance on the series of challenges they offered, which is why they chose to work with me to develop
the 30 challenges.
Get ready to be inspired by this interview with National Fit Specialist Frederika Zappe and Laurel Nash SVP of Sales from the Elomi team about the confidence building Live Limitless Challenge!
Listen Here:
Below, Frederika Zappe, National Fit Specialist and Laurel Nash SVP of Sales both from Elomi come together to explain how taking steps to Living Limitless can help one live their best and most confident life:
Being able to live a life without limits is truly freeing and incredibly powerful, and that’s the movement Elomi is championing.
Elomi is a lingerie brand to be noticed! Created specifically for full-figure women, Elomi completely embodies what being ‘curvy and confident’ is all about. Elomi’s mission is to help inspire and empower women to live their life without limits. This is what the Live Limitless Challenge is all about.
Elomi has a strong community of women that are very engaged and incredibly active on social media.They are confident to take on anything life throws at them, so we wanted to give them the chance to get involved and challenge them to push their boundaries further.
Working alongside Dr. Denise, we have created 30 challenges that make up the Live Limitless Challenge. We utilised her expertise and understanding of confidence-building to create a series of challenges designed to empower and inspire. The challenges vary from small things such as keeping a gratitude list or doing a digital detox. to other fun challenges like learning a new skill or getting out and getting active!
There are no rules for how quickly the challenges need to be completed—our fans can do them
how and when they like, all we ask is that they share their challenges on Instagram to be a part of our ‘Live Limitless Challenge Community’ and use their experience to inspire others to take part.
Fans that take part also have the added incentive of being in with the chance of winning some Elomi collections as prizes.
Elomi has a close connection to body confidence. It comes from the emotive experience of a woman having a bra fitting experience—and it is transformational.
80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, which can affect their health and posture. When
someone goes in store for a fitting experience and wears their new bra in the correctly fitting size, it can be a truly incredible experience from the difference it can make to your posture, body shape and confidence, while also leave you feeling more uplifted and supported. Their bra becomes their most important and favorite accessory of the day. Once you’ve experienced it, you want to tell others to do the same. It’s the best kept secret to every great outfit. The same rules apply for on the beach, and we also want every woman to feel totally confident in her swimwear.
The challenge has been running for a few months already and we’ve seen a massively positive response from the Elomi community from around the world. We’re really excited to see how it grows and for Dr. Denise to continue on this journey with us and our fans.
Frederika “Freddy” Zappeis the National Fit Specialist for Eveden Inc., the prestigious
UK-based lingerie and swimwear company, and makers of the fabulous luxury brands
Fantasie, Freya, Elomi and Goddess.
A passionate advocate for the importance of fit, Freddy travels all over the country
spreading the Eveden message, and training industry professionals. A gifted motivational
speaker and corporate spokesperson, Freddy is a frequent presenter at lingerie and
swimwear trade shows including Curve NY, Las Vegas. She conducts the Eveden Fit
School, an educational seminar, and a fitting master class workshop.
Freddy’s background is in international modeling and acting, environments that gave her
a unique perspective on the difference between the retouched “ideal” women appearing in
the media, and the real-world women who are striving for that ideal. Hollywood celebs
and New York tycoons depend on her expert advice to look their best.
Eveden’s innovative designs and the extensive range of cups sizes Eveden has to offer,
gives Freddy the tools to create that perfect fit. Eveden and Freddy work together to
make the real woman the truly ideal woman.
Laurel Nash
Title: Senior Vice President of Sales at Eveden Inc. (North America)
Laurel Nash is the Senior Vice President of Sales for North America at Eveden Inc., the parent company
of Elomi. Previously, Laurel worked for Nordstrom for 20 years, where she worked her way from
Department Manager to National Multichannel Planning Manager in the Women’s Apparel Division. She
has also operated as Vice President of Sales at Hudson Kids and Senior Sales Manager at Free People.
She started her role as SVP of Sales at Eveden Inc. in January of 2018.
Check out the winners of the challenges so far!

BE Inspired by Life Style Medicine Pioneer, Beth Frates M.D.

Who inspired Dr. Beth Frates to passionately pursue lifestyle medicine? How does she empower her patients? What motivates her to stay on track with her optimal health plan? This interview takes you through the steps to ENVISION optimal well-being to BE AWARE and then TAKE ACTION!

Listen here:

Guest Commentary

Beth Frates, M.D.



“Do this, not that!” This type of demanding dictator approach does not  empower people to make sustainable lifestyle changes.  People need to exert their own autonomy, feel a connection with another person, and feel competent in order to stay motivated to make change and meet goals. This is described in Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory. Instead of the demanding dictator approach, the COACH approach is more effective when working with people who are trying to lose weight, start an exercise program, . This approach uses collaboration and negotiation to help people identify their own motives to make a change and to craft  SMART Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. The COACH is a mnemonic that stands for


C = curious

O = open-minded

A = appreciative

C= compassionate

H= honest


When we are communicating with others and working to empower them to make healthy lifestyle changes, we must remain curious about the person’s motivations to change, their past successes as well as failures, their goals and their vision of themselves in the future. Then, whatever their answers, we must stay in a space of non-judgment and keep an open-mind.  If we try hard enough, we can find something positive in what they are saying. We can appreciate any past successes or steps in the direction of healthy change. When people reveal their problems and vulnerabilities, we can express compassion and a strong desire not only understand but also to help. No matter what the situation, we must be honest. We can treat delicate matters gently, but we must tell the truth. When we embody these characteristics, we are “being” a helpful coach. These are the “being” qualities of a coach.


“Being” coach like is important and “doing” the work of a coach is equally important.  The doing follows a five collaboration cycle which can be used in any situation requiring teamwork. Here are the 5 steps


  1. Express empathy
  2. Align motivation
  3. Build confidence
  4. Set SMART goals
  5. Set accountability


The first thing we need to do when working to empower someone to change is to express empathy. Listen carefully to not only the words they are saying but also their body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. This helps you to fully understand the person in front of you. After you have expressed your empathy by reflecting what the person said to you and saying “It sounds like you had a really hard time when your father died,” or something that accurately recaps what they shared with you. The next step is to ask the person, “What makes you want to make this change now?” Let them speak. People like to be heard.  After they have determined their motivators for change, then it’s time to build their confidence so that they are empowered to make the change. This can be accomplished by asking them to list their strengths and if they can’t so that then invite them to tell you about a time when they were successful reaching a goal. Again, listen carefully and help the person identify their strengths from their story. The fourth step is to help the person create their own meaningful goal that is specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time sensitive such as “I will eat healthier this week by cutting out sweets and replacing cakes, cookies, and candies after dinner with a piece of fruit.” And, the final step is to set accountability. Make sure to set a time for another check in either in person, by email or text when the person will report to you how they did. When they do report back, the cycle starts again and the first thing you do is express empathy.


This COACH Approach can be used with colleagues, friends, and family members who long to make a change in their lifestyle. It can also be used for meeting goals outside of lifestyle too. The approach is a collaborative way to help people take steps towards the best version of themselves at work or at home.


Beth Frates, MD, is trained as a physiatrist and a health and wellness coach. Her expertise is in lifestyle medicine, and she works to empower patients to reach their optimal level of wellness by adopting healthy habits. Elected to the Board of Directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in 2016, Dr. Frates is helping to shape the scope of this new specialty. She is an award-winning teacher at Harvard Medical School and developed and taught a college lifestyle medicine curriculum at the Harvard Extension School, which is one of the most popular courses offered at the school. As the Director of Wellness Programming at the Stroke Institute for Research and Recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Dr. Frates has created and implemented a twelve-month wellness program for stroke survivors and their caregivers.  She is co-author of the book, Life After Stroke: TheGuide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Strokeand co-author of three chapters on behavior change in different medical textbooks, and multiple journal articles on lifestyle medicine topics including exercise prescription, connection prescription, lifestyle medicine case series, and walking meeting for sustained weight loss. She shared a lifestyle medicine syllabus, which can be downloaded through the ACLM website, in hopes that her work can serve as a template for other instructors and professors hoping to teach a course in lifestyle medicine.  Dr. Frates is the co-author of the Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: An Introduction to the Power of Healthy Habits.For the past 9 years, Dr. Frates has been the faculty advisor for the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group at Harvard Medical School, and she works with the Professionals In Training (PiT) group at ACLM to help create more LMIGs in medical schools and other health care professional training schools.  Dr. Frates is passionate about developing programs focused on lifestyle medicine and wellness.


Earth is a Tough Place

Let’s face it. “Earth is a tough place!” We all are trying to face each day with the best intentions for our best physical and mental health for ourselves and others at a time that is feeling like “The Era of The Sociopath.”

Tune in for tips, tools and more:

Why Is Mental Health Making the News Daily

***Here is the article I wrote in preparation for the launch of a mental health awareness initiative at NBA Summer League:

As a society we are starting to have discussions that are long over due. Every day the news reports a new spin on what is going on in the world of mental health, addiction and mental wellbeing.

This is a hot topic for all of us and thankfully our Ambassadors of Change (Owners, Commissioners, Coaches and Players, Fans) are rising to the challenge of being role models and strategic thinkers as to how we can think, talk and act about mental health in new ways.

This past March Nation launched an article, “Does the NBA Have a Mental Care Crisis On Its Hand” by sports editor Dave Zirin.

It starts,  “Last weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke as a panelist at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. He was asked by Book of Basketball author Bill Simmons why so many NBA players seem, for lack of a more exact phrase, “unhappy.” Silver’s response was quite unexpected. Instead of a canned answer about how players are actually feeling hunky-dory, and accusations that Simmons was just talking “fake news,” Silver said, “We are living in a time of anxiety. I think it’s a direct result of social media. A lot of players are unhappy.”


He then went on to speak about the depth of the sadness, isolation, and even depression many players feel. He also said that players sometimes reach out to him on the road to discuss their feelings. “I’m an anxious person myself,” he said. “That’s why the players like talking to me.””

Not surprising as anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge, they affect 40 million adults in the United States every year, ~18% of the population.

According to the April 2016 Center for Disease and Prevention Report, the number of suicides have been on the rise since 1999 in everyone between the ages of 10 and 74. In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,00 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 persons 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.

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.

This is why it is paramount to have the discussion about mental health in new ways, with less stigma , and with less shame.

Empowering ways of talking about our feelings and our inner world, “our mindscape”will give people permission to lead their best life not only physically but mentally too.

This is why I introduced the term neurostyle defined as “The unique way in which we each process and perceive the world.”I wrote an article in this magazine,“Embrace Your NeuroStyle”to further give examples as to how to use this neutral and nonjudgmental term.

WE can all come together with new ways of thinking, talking and acting about mental health that allows education, prevention and early intervention.

Since anxiety is such a hot topic Susan asked me to dive deeper on this discussion.

Here we go:

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention.

 Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.  –American Psychiatric Association


There are different types of anxiety and usually when someone comes to see me they have a combination of symptoms and more than one type.

Here are the types: Social Anxiety Disorder , Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Specific Phobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder

Here are the most common ways anxiety can present:

~ you care too much about what other people think

~ you have a specific fear (public speaking)

~you have generalized worry about the future that is so excessive that you are often missing out on the now moment

 ~you experience physiologic symptoms of panic, elevate heart rate, sweaty palms, stomach upset

~you obsess over thoughts in a way that is distressing and distracting

~you are distressed from separating from a loved one




When do I seek help if I am anxious?

There are different ways to view stress and the energy can be used to motivate us to meet a deadline, shoot the three pointer, or to have other “healthy adrenaline rushes”to reach optimal performance.

You can seek a performance coach for all different athletic, personal and professional goals to reach your thrive potential to deal with routinechallenges and stress.

An anxiety disorder goes beyond normal stress as it can be so debilitating that the symptoms get in the way of day to day life over a period of time.

Do not self diagnose as you can go down the wrong path for years and miss out on a greater quality of life.

For moderate to severe anxiety working with a cognitive behavioral therapist or a psychologist can be the first step to take.

What happens if I have done therapy for six months and I am not making progress?

If you have been in cognitive behavioral therapy, engaged in a type of performance coaching or other therapy and you are still suffering with distressing anxiety a medical assessment by a psychiatrist needed.

The evaluation includes a biological, psychological and social perspective to see why you are not improving. Routine lab work is done to make sure your thyroid is ok and to rule out any other cause for anxiety. A thorough family history and genetic factors are addressed.

What role does social media have on anxiety and our mental health?


This could be an entire article itself.


I can tell you from my clinical practice that a lot of social exclusion and cyber~bullying are trigger factors for unhappiness, depression, anxiety and suicide attempts that lead people to seek my help.


So social media use is definitely an influencer on our anxiety and depression levels yet it is difficult to make a precise correlation as our mental health is influenced by biological, psychologic, social, and cultural influences.


I will say it is interesting that increased suicide rates across all ages from 1999 to 2014  happen to coincide with the time of greater internet and social media use.


Social exclusion and peer pressure was discussed by NYU  psychiatrist Dr. Jess Shatkin in his book Born To Be Wild , To the brain and therefore to us, emotional pain due to social exclusion feels just like physical pain.


He summarized Dr. Naomi Eisenberg’s study that involved putting college students in an fMRI scanner and had them play a computer  game called Cyberball in which they thought they were having peer to peer play and it started out friendly and then quickly someone was left out.

The MRI results were intriguing, “The regions of the brain that process physical pain are the same ones that get activated when we experience social exclusion.”

Can you imagine if we were to do an fMRI study that revealed the physical and emotional pain of social exclusion with excessive social media use? We would then have a more precise answer on the direct influence of social media.

My social media advice is “less is more.”Social media is here to stay. So we need to be more mindful as to how we interact with one another and learn to self regulate with “digital detoxes”and screen free time.

Log off and spend time outside, go to the gym. When you do engage in social media be precise and kind with your words as often as possible. This will reduce stress and anxiety.

We also need to remember we still have a long way to go on destigmatizing the talks about mental health as Dave Zirin’s article further points out , “Yet not everyone was feeling Silver’s support for players and their mental-health travails. NBA Hall of Famer and media maven Charles Barkley on ESPN’s morning show Get Up!

“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard any commissioner say. Listen…these guys are making $20, $30, $40 million a year. They work 6, 7 months a year. We stay at the best hotels in the world. They ain’t got no problems. That’s total bogus.”

Charles Barkley you have got this wrong.

I have multimillionaires, athletes and entrepreneurs that have sought my consultation that definitely do not escape mental health challenges and have fatal suicide attempts.

I can tell you that when someone seeks professional help there is no amount of money that can “wish away” their symptoms.

If you or a loved one has never suffered with a mental health challenge you might not be able to wrap your head around the topic of anxiety or mental health.

It is important to keep an open dialogue about these life saving discussions at the right moment…. NOW!

Dr. Denise























National Fitness Hall of Fame Dr. Bob Weil on “The Mental Game “


Are you ready to be inspired?

This week’s show is with “The Sports Doctor” aka Dr. Bob Weil.

He is a sports podiatrist specializing in custom orthotics treating kids, teens, and adults including an impressive roster of professional and Olympic athletes.

I want to personally congratulate Dr. Bob Weil as he was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame this summer for his decades of devotion to sports medicine!

In 2018 #HeySportsParents was released co-authored by Dr. Bob and Sharkie Zartman. It is an honor to be a contributor of the chapter “Youth Athletics As Mind Medicine for Life!”

Dr. Bob hosts The Sports Doctor live weekly on bbsradio.com/thesportsdoctor with famous guests from around the globe including  athletes, coaches, physicians and other key influencers in the sports world.

He is passionate about discussions of  holistic health and integrates a mind, body and human spirit approach in his office, on his show and truly walks the walk (no pun intended!)

He and I love discussing “The Mental Game!”



Adaptive Perfectionism vs. Restrictive Perfectionism

This short and sweet show briefly discusses adaptive vs. restrictive perfectionism.  I was about to interview a guest and they were not available. I thought this is a great topic to address “in real time” when my day shifted from original plan.

Part of reaching our own top 1% mentally, physically and spiritually is being able to adapt when situations, challenges or successes do not go our way. It is how we react and the mindset we are able to have when we go through life that defines our happiness.

Listen here: