Saturday, May 30, 2009

... guinea pig therapy ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

pet therapy has been gaining increased attention over the years. research has shown that owning a pet can actually help:

- alzheimer’s and psychiatric patients become more oriented to reality,

- children with autistic traits and attention deficit disorder (ADD) develop focus and concentration,

- depressed people become more interactive with the “external world,” and

- hypertensives lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and mortality rate by 3%.
.so what is it in pets that brings about healing to their owners?

i guess it is because pets can take our minds off loneliness, fear, and pain.

everyone has a need to touch and hug, and as we share this affection to our pets, they reciprocate in kind.

pets convey a sense of innocence, spontaneity, and vulnerability which makes us want to connect and be part of their world.

and lastly, with pets, we can also feel safe and accepted in their presence, and be our natural selves around them.
.as for me, I have five furry critter pals that cheer me up: dr. phil, freud, margie holmes, dr. love, and professor x:
the dudes serve as my personal psychotherapists when I am down and out. ...and to think that they don't even have a degree in psychology!

last night, i had a one-on-one session with dr. love. here i am listening intently to what he had to tell me:
professor x's advice is always on my mind!
and sometimes, his poop is also in my hair.

... stop smoking and lose weight through hypnotherapy! ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

all the way from hilo, hawaii, dr. don hashimoto travelled thousands of miles to the philippines to offer filipinos a quick and easy way to quit smoking-- for good!
. naturally, when they learned that dr. don was in the philippines, many chronic smokers called in, excited to try out what dr. don had to offer. as expected, none of them were dismayed. in fact, all left dr. don's sessions confident that their urge to smoke had permanently vanished into thin air!

dr. don's healing program, entitled "Stop Smoking in 1 Hour," uses a combination of hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (nlp). these are 2 well-known methods for communicating with the subconcious mind to bring about desired results. these methods are safe, relaxing, and most importantly, proven to be effective. you may want to know more about dr. don's program by visiting his website at or by calling 0920-627-2985.

by the way, dr. don also applies these methods on people who want to lose weight.

since dr. don met his patients at my clinic, i had the pleasure of asking him to do his "stop smoking in an hour" hypnotherapy program on me. here i am in the deep relaxing slumber of his hypnotic spell:
of course, i'm not one who smokes.

so if you're curious as to what effect dr. don's hypnosis had on non-smoker like me...

well, besides feeling relaxed, the hypnosis fortified my resolve NEVER to EVER smoke!

Monday, May 25, 2009

... culinary arts as therapy ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

i never really paid attention to the process of cooking until i watched the movie entitled "like water for chocolate." in this movie, the main character's thoughts and emotions (whether it was love, anger, fear, or sadness) get infused into whatever food she made. the lesson for me is that we should give importance not only to "physical ingredients" but to "emotional components" as well. and i guess this lesson applies to everything we do, in and out of the kitchen.

sometime ago, i used to work as a school counselor-psychiatrist for the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) and also the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) which has a culinary arts program. since these are schools of international caliber, the students are constantly hard-pressed to do their best- all the time! with all the stress they experience, the students' stomachs probably produce cauldrons of gastric acid that could be used for marinating their food.

because of the recent boom in the culinary arts, i have been getting more clients that are culinary arts students. well, just to be able to relate to their experiences, i decided a few years back to experience culinary arts training for myself.
after much research, i decided to enroll at CLICKS Culinary Learning Institute ( since the school offered short-term, relatively affordable, comprehensive, and TESDA-accredited programs. chef rey feliciano, the training director and school owner, along with chef froy flores, served as our instructors.

chef rey and chef froy taught our classes with so much encouragement, patience, and fun while simultaneously teaching us the detailed knowledge, attitudes, and skills to reach our full potential as chefs. it was also inspiring to hear personal stories from their trail-blazing careers as chefs.
lastly, i want to share some sound bites about cooking as a form of therapy:

cooking is a magical, transformative, and creative process.

it is emotionally rewarding to create a delectable work of art from raw solitary ingredients.

and it is even more emotionally satisfying to see others relish the fruit of your loving efforts.

i hope you savor the food for thought i've offered you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

... shake your booty, the dance therapy way ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

as a specialist in body-mind-emotions healing, i have always been fascinated by dance therapy.

in case you're wondering what it is, dance therapy is a type of psychotherapy.

it's not about performing dance steps and learning dance sequences. dance therapy is about self-awareness, self-expression, and self-healing through the use of body movements.

over the weekend, i had the privilege of meeting two pioneers in the dance therapy field - denjie sharma and sharon chaiklin.

denjie is president and founding member of the philippine dance therapy association (pdta), while sharon is past president and founding member of the american dance therapy association (adta).

this was a meeting of east and west and as you can see in the picture below, i was elated to be sandwiched by them.
to witness and experience sharon and denjie, both in action, was truly inspiring:
. the dance therapy workshop was full of activities that were fun yet thought-provoking...
and at the end, we didn't only get to shake our booty. we also shook the negative emotions out of our system! ..


Sunday, May 17, 2009

... life coach training workshop in the philippines ... (counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

someone asked me how effective my life coach training programs are. well, let the pictures below speak for themselves.

here is this month's batch of participants BEFORE the workshop. notice how the participants seem like they urgently need life coaching for themselves:

and now, see how they've changed AFTER the workshop:

with my military approach and ground-and-pound style of training, the above picture shows how the participants have become exemplary models of what life coaches should be: dignified, respectable, and professional-looking.

you might ask,"what makes my life coach training program unique and superior to other programs?"

  • firstly, it is designed by a filipino (like me) for filipinos, making it consistent with the filipino mindset, filipino temperament, and filipino ways of interaction.
  • secondly, it is strongly grounded in psychological theory and research.
  • thirdly, it is based on my actual professional experience of having 50 or more clients a week.
  • fourthly, the program strongly focuses on personal growth of the life coach.
  • fifthly, it emphasizes strong adherence to ethical guidelines.
  • sixthly, it is fun and interactive with a lot of skills-building activities.
  • and seventhly, of course you have the privilege (or nightmare- hehe!) of receiving guidance and supervision from me.

so, what are you waiting for? join my training programs and unleash the full compassionate force of your inner life coach!

... a very sleepy topic ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

certainly a sleepy topic but everyone was wide awake!

at Shell Philippines Shellhouse in Makati, i just did a stress management workshop with a focus on how to sleep better.

a lively adrenaline-powered discussion ensued as many of them admitted that they experienced insomnia. i gave them a number of tips on how they could sleep better.

at the end of the seminar, one person remarked that he was so overly-excited to try out my sleep tips that he might not be able to sleep tonight. i advised him not to be too excited, and told him that he should just sleep on it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

... hayop 'tong client na ito! ... (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

just when i was about to close shop, i was surprised to know that i had one final client for the night. he had stealthily crept into my clinic and settled himself into a chair.

things were quiet and awkward for a while as he meticulously scrutinized me from head to toe. i couldn't look straight into his eyes though because they were oddly glowing like light bulbs. hmm...something was definitely paranormal here.
he must have gotten more comfortable because he started purring out, i mean, pouring out his life stories. truth to tell, i had a hell of a time comprehending anything he said so i paid more careful attention to his non-verbal communication.

as the session proceeded, we found ourselves interacting intuitively, tapping into each other's minds.

the hour ended with me gaining a lot of life lessons from this lion-hearted client of mine. here's what i'll always remember from him:

  • live life and take risks-- as if you possess nine lives.
  • curiosity never killed any cat. on the contrary, curiosity is what makes cats really "live!"
  • when you need love and attention, just purr and look cute.
  • nap the whole day and occasionally wake up to break the monotony.
  • upon waking up, stretch in bed and feeeeel the pleasure!


Friday, May 8, 2009

… profile of an atheist … (philippines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

one of the perks of my trade is that I get to meet a lot of off-beat characters.

one of them is jerry valencia, a lyceum psychology student, who has an interesting POV on life and on God.

to start things off, jerry unabashedly proclaims himself to be an atheist.

despite coming from a family that practiced traditional roman catholicism, he stopped believing in the existence of God ever since his high school days. he denies any traumatic religious experience and doesn’t attribute his atheistic beliefs to any incident in his childhood.

what he does say is that believing in God defies common sense, logic, and science. “to see (God) is to believe (that He exists),” he says. he cites the plurality of religions and cults each claiming moral superiority based on their monopoly of divine truth. he also takes notice of how religious people can be inconsistent in what they preach and how they live.

when asked about the meaning and purpose of life, he says that “we just live and then die.”

his wacky friends raine and honeyleth (shown in picture) only have good words for him. he is generally described as a good friend and a fine gentleman. in fact, even if honeyleth and raine remain steadfast in their faith, they say that a lot of jerry’s arguments make sense.

according to them, jerry can also be funny. during exams, when the members of the barkada are afraid of failing, they usually flock together to pray for God to help them pass. though jerry doesn’t join them, he occasionally (and seriously) whispers to them “isama niyo rin ako diyan, ha.”

one last thing: don’t be surprised if this atheist becomes a well-known campus figure at lyceum. he is “rumored” to be a candidate and popular bet for their school’s “mr. psychology” contest.

you know what, if he does win, his barkada might actually hail his victory as a MIRACLE!

… the last of the summer cuts … (philppines, life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

this time, it was the living epistle church in cubao that offered an “oplan free circumcision” to the neighboring kids, teens, and adults.

although camera-shy, the kids were especially excited to go through the procedure.

just to test them out, i would tell them to postpone the circumcision and just come back next year. they however, with fierce determination and unwavering spirit, would insist on having it done “now!”

perhaps something different today (but not really new) was that one of the kids i circumcised had “hypospadia.” well, just to broaden your knowledge, hypospadia is a birth defect wherein the opening of the penis isn’t at the tip of the head but is abnormally placed anywhere along the underside of the shaft. a person with hypospadia may experience messy urination, frequent UTI, and fertility problems. i hope that his parents are able to get enough resources to have the condition surgically repaired, as i suggested.

and so, with the onslaught of typhoons, the summer trend is officially over and i’ve done my final cut for this year. that's enough bloodshed for now!

Friday, May 1, 2009

...snip, snip, cut, cut... operation "libre tule"

because people recognize me more as a shrink and holistic healer, some forget that i am still a general physician.

as in summers past, i was again invited to join a medical mission offering "libre tule" to indigent children and adults. this time, the organizer of the event was the light of the world christian fellowship located in novaliches. pictured below were the kids raring to transition into manhood:

i am always thankful to participate in medical missions like this because it offers me the chance to keep my surgical skills sharp.

during the "operation tule," nurse nat served as my efficient and ever-reliable assistant.
surprisingly, kids don't bawl out loud as i circumcise them. they remain relaxed; they ask questions; and they just watch curiously as i perform the surgical procedure on them.
like the young man below, some even get too comfortable and light-hearted that they start entertaining me with their jokes.
nurse nat was quite eager to learn how to circumcise and wow, was he a fast learner! all he needed was to watch me do the procedure for a number of times and when i gave him the chance to practice, he needed very little supervision and assistance from me.
after a hard day's work, it is a joy and reward to fellowship with other medical colleagues and new friends.
the food served was scrumptious, but for some strange reason, i found myself avoiding the "dinuguan."