Christina is the owner and clinical director of Suite 14. Her late father, Dr. John Sarno, first identified chronic pain (TMS) as a mind-body disorder and pioneered a model of treatment that Christina applies across her own clinical practice. She specializes in career transitions, relationship distress and divorce, and has been treating clients for over a decade. She has taught at Brooklyn College and NYU, and has consulted in healthcare and education. She holds a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and Wellness from NYU.
TMS stands for Tension Myositis Syndrome, a condition first identified by John Sarno MD that involves the nervous system's reaction to unprocessed feelings and stress over the lifespan, resulting in chronic pain and physical conditions. Transcript: "What is TMS? TMS stands for tension myoneural syndrome, a condition first identified by John Sarno, MD, who recognized that most chronic conditions, particularly chronic pain, that are physiological are caused by the nervous system's reaction to unprocessed feelings, unprocessed emotions, and stress over the lifespan. It could be past stress or present stress. The nervous system reacts to these unprocessed feelings by sending signals to parts of the body that cause pain and very real physical conditions that can last a lifetime."
Anxiety disorders can significantly impact an individual's quality of life by making it difficult to be present and attentive in the moment due to worrying about the past or future. Transcript: "The question is how do anxiety disorders impact an individual's overall quality of life? Well, I'd start by saying it depends on the severity of the disorder, but for people who find themselves in therapy, often they feel trapped by their disordered thinking, trapped by ruminations, and unable to, even if intellectually they know that their anxiety is not rational, they feel unable to move from having those often disruptive and disturbing thoughts. So the way that it affects a person's overall quality of life is it makes it very difficult to be present and joyful and attentive to the things that are happening right in front of you because you are often worried about the past, or the future, or something that is outside of your control. I think that would be the number one way that anxiety disorders affect quality of life."
Scheduling time to do nothing is important for work-life balance. Taking walks, window shopping and other activities can help achieve this balance. Transcript: "How do you find work-life balance? Any tips? One of the things that I think is super important for work-life balance is to actually schedule time to do nothing. It's important to obviously schedule time for exercise and meal planning and time with friends, but it's also really important to schedule time where things can evolve, where you can randomly take a walk, where you can window shop. And I try to tell my clients, and I do myself, to schedule time to do nothing every day for at least a half an hour. It sounds ridiculous, but you find ways to fill the time and you can feel more balanced when you do so."
Prioritize support systems you already have, and if not, find new ones by joining classes, a running group or volunteering. Transcript: "Beyond therapy, what other resources do you recommend for those seeking mental health support? I think the most important thing is to assess what supports you already have in your life and really lean into them. So do you have friends? Do you have family? Are you part of a volunteer organization? Where are the places that you can feel connected to others and be doing things that help you see your value, that help you see where you are and are not alone? Those are the things that I would often recommend. I would first lean into support systems that already exist, and if they don't exist, where can you find new support systems? Can you join a class? Can you join a running group? Can you think about volunteering? These are all ways in which you can be more connected to others, which is a great way to foster support. For more information, visit www.FEMA.gov"
To constantly learn and grow throughout your career, it is important to be willing to accept feedback, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Take a moment to understand what you are learning in that moment, and give yourself space to learn. Transcript: "What do you think is the mindset needed to constantly learn and grow throughout your career? I think the most important thing to consider if you want to have a growth mindset throughout your career is to be okay with feeling uncomfortable. One of the hardest things is to get feedback either because something happens and you make a mistake or because somebody gives you feedback directly and it can feel really uncomfortable. But to take some deep breaths and sit with that discomfort and try to understand what you're learning in that moment or can you give yourself space to learn in that moment. That, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to continually learn and grow throughout your career."
Social emotional learning is related to health in that it helps humans interact with each other in a healthy way, which helps them feel more supported, have better functioning nervous systems, and overall maintain good wellbeing. Transcript: "The question is, how is social-emotional learning related to health? Humans are social beings and the more we can interact in a healthy way with each other, the more supported we feel. The more supported we feel, our nervous systems work better and therefore it contributes to our overall health. So I think social-emotional learning is essential for children to grow and for adults to grow and have healthy relationships, have a sense of their self-awareness, have a sense of themselves in the world. And if they're able to do this and they're able to be accepting of the way that they feel about many things and be able to identify how they feel about many things, it will greatly increase their capacity to regulate their nervous system, to have healthy relationships, to make good decisions for themselves moving forward. I think social-emotional learning is essential for overall wellness."