Debbie Harbinson, MHI, RN, HNB-BC
Integrative Health Nurse Consultant, Certified Laughter Leader
I am my happiest when offering programs to prevent hardening of the attitudes! My work has great appeal for those who want to learn and practice tools for well-being in a supportive, comfortable, and safe environment. I believe that chronic diseases are not a natural part of aging and individuals can take action to reduce the impact of a disease. I want to be your partner as you investigate best practices for your best life ever!
Through my work as a registered nurse and caregiver for my mother, I learned the crucial importance of self-care. For the greatest benefit, I determined that my self-care platform must be flexible in its mode of delivery, fun, and effective in a short amount of time. While I explored various programs, I developed a multi-faceted strategy for my own well-being. Once I deepened my practice in these techniques, I realized the impact of these methods upon not only my own wellbeing, but also those around me. Consequently, I taught these modalities to all my clients who as a result reported more joy in their life and daily feelings of satisfaction, gratitude and compassion. Furthermore, while speaking at a conference in Nanjing, China, I witnessed these same strategies received universally with the same benefits!
My greatest pleasure is accompanying others as they uncover treasures of insight long buried in their life experiences and thus find greater meaning in their journey. I would honor the time to meet with you individually, as a family or please join our community in one of the listed classes!
My vision is to serve as a loving and caring companion to others on this journey called life, while maintaining my own personal wellbeing. At this time, I believe my work’s purpose is to teach modalities that translate the innate wisdom of the mind, body, and spirit to support overall wellness and have FUN! And allow my holistic nursing experience in brain health, operating room, faith-based community, home health, geriatric care, and end of life to be a service and resource for you.
- Member of Advisory Board for the World Laughter Tour, Inc.
- Ongoing community introductory informational programs on integrative health
Services I Provide
Integrative Health Nurse Consultation: Individual and Organizational
The Integrative Health Nurse (IHN), along with the holistic nursing principle supports the whole-person with whole-systems healing. An IHN recognizes that people cannot be separated from their environment, their relationships to family, and care providers. Moreover, the body’s natural inclination to heal must be honored as well as the healing properties of nature to create a restorative environment. The IHN also knows that we are hard wired to interact with the natural world, such as animals, water, plants and clean air. Furthermore, when we are too separated from the natural world, we may suffer in our overall wellbeing. These findings are fundamental to the 6 principles of an IHN; People are Whole Systems, The Innate Capacity to Heal, Use Nature’s Healing Properties, Relationships in Care, Evidence-based Care, Self-care.
An IHN practices these principles by embracing and teaching several modalities which ‘put the patient in the best possible condition, so that nature can act and healing can occur’; to quote Florence Nightingale (Notes on Nursing). These principles are foundational to IHN consultations, programming, offerings and speaking, while informing both traditional and emerging therapeutic interventions and resources.
Integrative Imagery: Preparation for Procedures & Relaxation
Using the healing powers of your imagination, transform an experience that could be perceived as unpleasant or frightening into a healing and pleasant encounter. This 90-minute session uses research proven mind-body techniques to:
- Feel calmer before surgery or any procedure/event
- Use less pain medication
- Recover faster
- Strengthen your immune system
- More restful sleep
Laughter therapy as conceived, designed and delivered by World Laughter Tour, is an enjoyable mind-body-spirit process of systematic exposure to the natural phenomenon of true mirthful laughter, playfulness, and healthy attitudes. All of this happens in an environment that supports shifts in outlook bringing positive results of health, happiness, resilience, peace, and thriving. It makes life more workable, and work more livable.
There are many paths to joining this global movement toward peace and happiness. Listed below are 3 communities available at Optimal You.
- Join a Ha! Ha! Spa Laughter Circle
Participants experience systematic exposure to true mirthful laughter in a supportive environment.
- Mirthful Me
During a Mirthful Me session, a Mirthful Action Plan (MAP) is created to promote stress resilience, joy, gratitude and attitude adjustment.
- How to Create Therapeutic Laughter Workshops™ worldlaughtertour.com
Attend a 2 Day laughter therapy workshop to become a Certified Laughter Leader and receive continuing education credit!
Promoting health as well as furthering the accomplishment of other therapeutic goals, this work has great appeal for both professional and family caregivers.
Sign Chi Do
Sign Chi Do is an innovative technology that incorporates sign-gesture with movement, music and breath. Using awareness, it can be a simple technique for enhanced balance and health or a tool to help deepen your prayer practice. Six week sessions integrate medicine with spirituality and help people discover how to reduce stress, grow spiritually, and live happy, healthier lives. The program includes in-person classes along with book/DVD, online videos and downloadable meditations during and after the program.
Learn more at signchido.com.
Research in recent years has demonstrated that the brain is always growing, learning and forming new connections. The technical term for this is neuroplasticity. We also know that the brain communicates to the body and the body sends communication to the brain. This mind-body communication makes hypnosis a wonderful tool to help improve various health conditions. Research has also shown that there is a neural basis for hypnosis. Various types of brain scans document that the brain function changes in hypnosis versus normal wakefulness or sleep.
So hypnosis is real. Hypnosis is not sleep, magic or mind control. It is a highly focused but narrow area of attention. It is a normal state. If you have ever become so involved in a movie or a game with your favorite sports team that it was like you were part of the action, you likely were in a state of trance or hypnosis. You might be aware of what is going on around you or you might not be. Most people can experience hypnosis. Notice, I did not say, “Can be hypnotized,” because hypnosis is something you participate in, rather than something that is done to you. Using hypnosis you can learn to eliminate barriers and shift the way you approach life’s challenges to improve your health and reach new goals.
If you are interested in more of the scientific information about hypnosis you will enjoy the online lecture of David Spiegel, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine. (This lecture is a couple hours long, but it is broken down into ten short segments of 3-12 mins in length for ease of viewing. Dr. Spiegel is an excellent speaker who uses visuals and humor to keep presentations interesting.)
What is Hypnosis Most Useful for?
- Have you been told you need to have a diagnostic or medical/dental procedure you might be dreading?
- Are you experiencing or anticipating side effects of chemotherapy?
- Do you have a medical condition you are struggling with such as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, pain, tinnitus or insomnia?
- Are you uncomfortable speaking before groups, taking an airplane flight, going to the dentist?
- Do you want to lose weight or stop smoking?
- Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesia for invasive medical procedures: a randomised trial Elvira Lang et. al. THE LANCET • Vol 355 • April 29, 2000.
- American Society of Clinical Hypnosis https://www.asch.net/
- Blackwell Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fast Facts for Medical Practice, Mary A. Herring and Molly M. Roberts, Blackwell Publishing, 2002.
- Hypnosis helps healing: Surgical wounds mend faster William J. Cromie. Harvard University Gazette. May 8, 2003.
- Hypnosis for IBS Overview of Published Research To Date on Hypnosis for IBS By Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D.
- Hypnosis in Contemporary Medicine, by James H Stewart, MD. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Volume 80, Issue 4, Pages 511-524, April 2005.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health(NCCIH) https://nccih.
- Smoking; Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results American College of Chest Physicians, October 24, 2007.
- The Health Benefits of Hypnosis, by Laura Hambleton. Washingtonian. March 9, 2012.
- What is Hypnotherapy? (Andrew Weil MD)
There is no license for hypnosis and most states do not even regulate who can do hypnosis. Some states restrict what title the provider can use, whether a person can say they are a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, but many do not have such a requirement. In all states it is illegal to call oneself a medical doctor, psychologist or nurse unless the provider has graduated from an approved college and passed the State Board Examination. Some states restrict the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes to a licensed healthcare provider, but most still do not. Even if the person doing your hypnosis is “certified” there is no regulation or consistency on what “certification” means. Furthermore, credible universities never offer a master’s or doctorate degree in hypnosis. Therefore, unless someone has a healthcare license, they are considered a “lay hypnotist” and there is no government board overseeing their practice.
A licensed healthcare professional will usually study hypnosis in postgraduate courses and receive ongoing training through continuing education. Ask your providers about their background. Explore whether they graduated from an accredited college. Reputable providers will never be offended by your questions. They will not brush off your questions or just imply that you have nothing to worry about. Hypnosis is most effective when you are comfortable with the person with whom you are working.
Mindful Eating Program & Mindful Eating for Prediabetes and Diabetes Program
Learn how to relate to eating as a natural, healthy and pleasurable activity for meeting your optimal energy and nutritional needs through mindful eating.
Many people who struggle with food discover that their relationship with food is a mindless reaction to unrecognized or unexamined thoughts and feelings, which leads them to repeat the same actions over and over. This creates feelings of powerlessness along with thoughts of an inability to change, many times spilling over into other areas of their lives. Additionally, when a medical condition is introduced into a person’s life, new strategies must be exchanged for previous habits. Mindfulness increases awareness of these patterns without judgement and creates the space between triggers and actions, allowing for new behaviors.
In that space, the participant learns to:
- Eat with intention of caring for yourself
- Eat with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying food and its effects on the body
- Recognize non-hunger triggers for eating
- Meet other needs in more effective ways than eating
- Choose food for both enjoyment and nourishment
- Use the food as fuel to live a vibrant life
This broad application makes mindful eating a powerful tool for developing a healthier, happier relationship with food.
“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment -- along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.
According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster
- clear thinking
- open-heartedness, and
- the alleviation of suffering
Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.
This is a way of having a look at our struggles from a unique perspective. Our personal history is a story we tell ourselves. This story creates our identity and sense of purpose. Sometimes we have chosen to tell a story that has kept us stuck in some way in our lives. By utilizing techniques such as journaling or retelling our stories we can narrate our stories in a different way. We can use the strengths and skills we have found along the way to look at our problems and struggles and create new chapters and solutions to lead us forward in our lives.
All Optimal You professionals apply some form of mindfulness principles or practice in their work.
What we eat has a direct impact on our physical and emotional health. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available these days from many sources. Some of the information on the Internet is there to sell products; some is just personal advice that lacks scientific foundation.
If you have questions about your food choices and habits, and how you can feel better and be healthier, you might like to work with someone who has sound scientific training in nutrition. Our approach to nutritional guidance is not gimmicky. We do not sell nutritional products or advocate rigid diets. As a matter of fact, we don’t even like the word “diet” because it conjures up a number of stereotypes that are not helpful.
We offer the latest nutritional information. Once you are armed with information, we believe you can make choices from a position of being aware and mindful, and can both enjoy food and choose foods to meet your health and personal goals.
For more information please visit my website:
- Available in office by appointment on Tuesday and Thursday
- Available other days with appointment by telephone or video conferencing