Radical Healer


Since 1986 I have been doing healing and lecturing, teaching and writing about energy fields, healing and alternative medicine in various venues. A brief summary of this work follows.

1999 – Present - Workshop Leader, Kripalu Center for Yoga and          Health, Lenox, Massachusetts; Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY;         Health Medicine Forum, Lafayette, CA, Wainwright House, Rye, NY

1996 – Present - Founder and principal of Health’s Angels, a     non-profit
organization that offers alternative healing to     underserved populations - especially teenagers.

2006 – Visiting Lecturer – Dominican University School of Nursing

2005 - Adjunct Faculty, The Graduate Institute, Milford, Connecticut

1998 - 2002 Workshop Leader, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

    1994 - 2000 Worked in operating rooms in New York, California,     Washington State and Hawaii doing energy healing with patients     undergoing surgery. Grants from the Symington Foundation and     the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

1999 - Visiting Lecturer, University of Hawaii Graduate School of     Nursing and The
Queen’s Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii

1998 - Seminar Instructor, Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado

1998 -Visiting Lecturer, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New     Hampshire

1997 - Visiting Professor, Institute for Health and Healing, California     Pacific
Medical Center, San Francisco, California

1997 - Visiting Lecturer, Stanford University Medical School, Palo Alto,


1997 - Visiting Lecturer, Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital

1995  - Guest Lecturer, Columbia University Medical School and     Columbia
Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York


Hands of Life, Bantam Books, 1998. Hardcover, paperback and four
        foreign language editions

Rescue 911
Family First Aid and Emergency Book. Simon and Schuster,

Various articles about alternative medicine, science and technology. 
Advances Magazine, Self, Science Digest, Esquire

Prevention, Utne Reader, Psychology Today, Journal of the San Francisco 
Medical Society, Ladies Home Journal, New York Times    Magazine


 “Twenty-Twenty” (ABC), “Extra!” (NBC), CNN, “Dini Petty Show” (CBC),
Discovery Channel, Canal Plus (French National Television)

Before I became involved in healing work I was an Emmy award-winning documentary film producer and founding partner of the Hudson River Film and Video Company in Garrison, New York.


High school - Bronx High School of Science

Undergraduate work - Bryn Mawr College, London School of Economics, Columbia University. B.Sc. Columbia, 1964

Graduate work - Columbia University School of the Arts, MFA Cinematography, 1971; Columbia University, School of Public Health, MPH, 1996



For me the greatest challenge of being a healer is gauging what to tell my patients when I perceive truths about them that I know will make them uncomfortable. Figuring out what kind of trauma underlies a physical or psychological problem is relatively easy. It's the kind of intuitive information that people broadcast with their bodies all the time. The difficult part is figuring out if they're ready to listen to this information on a conscious level and how I can make them feel safe enough to hear it.

This happens most frequently in cases of sexual abuse by a "beloved" parent - or equally by one who seems to have been "too distant" or "too unemotional" or "too unsexual"  to ever have done such a thing. The other case is abortion attempts - although these are, amazingly, somewhat easier for people to hear about if not to deal with.

The first thing I usually get in response is "But I have no memory of that." At this point I try to patiently explain that if it had been safe to remember it, to bring it into consciousness, the information would not have had to be held in the body and cause the kind of distress it is creating.

Typical symptoms of unremembered sexual abuse are  habitually sitting with ones hands between ones legs, hip pain or degeneration, lower back pain, insomnia, infertility, ovarian cysts, fybroids, aversion to certain kinds of sexual contact, frigidity, premature ejaculation, prostate problems, hemorrhoids, rejection of body parts - or of the body as a whole - homosexuality, attraction to pornography, promiscuity, candida, urinary tract infections, compulsive hand washing and germophobia- to name just a few.

Typical symptoms of unremembered abortion attempts are constant anxiety, severe depression, irrational fear of certain foods, a general inability to trust people, fear of sharp objects, fear or growth or change.

The second greatest challenge for me is dealing with my own sense of urgency around other people's healing. There is a certain feeling I get in my chest along with an impulse to lean forward towards the person with whom I'm working that tells me that my need to have this person heal is not trustworthy - and above all not helpful to their healing process.

When this happens I have to take a moment to pull back into myself and examine what I'm feeling. Inevitably the emotion of pain comes up usually with a relevant image that tells me what part of my past my reaction is coming from. Once I've acknowledged this to myself I can once again be fully present for my patient and separate my desire for his well being from my desperate childhood need to have someone in my family wake up and heal.

Of course the two issues are related. My "need" to have someone see the truth about his history interferes with my ability to judge wisely just how much information and change he can deal with at a given moment. Once I've clarified and processed my own feelings about the situation I have a much better chance of matching truth with timing and being truly helpful to my shocked and traumatized patients.

Depression is usually regarded as a biochemical problem that descends on people for heaven-knows-what reason and can only be treated with psychotropic drugs. As an almost-life-long sufferer from this "mysterious" condition I've done quite a lot of research on it - mostly and most successfully with myself but with many patients and workshop participants as well.

The first question I asked myself was "Why would the body create a 'chemical imbalance?' What purpose might it serve? And when would this purpose have been critically important to the survival of the individual or the species?"

I started as I always do from the premise that Nature is neither stupid nor wasteful. If something occurs it occurs for a reason. If the reason doesn't make sense in terms of ones current life then it probably did at some earlier time. Nature just didn't invest any extra energy or dna in rewriting the program once it had served its purpose. Just because something doesn't make sense for you at 33 doesn't mean that it wasn't useful at 3 or in the crib or in the womb.

I looked at the key aspects of depression:

Not wanting to or not being able to move (usually accompanied by a sense that all action is useless or will cause disaster).

Feeling "bad" about yourself (severely embarrassed, humiliated, guilty or ashamed).

In most extreme cases longing for death.

In what situation I asked myself would these be useful ways to be or things to feel?

Knowing something of my own prenatal history and of the effects of a mother's emotional state on fetal development and growth I realized that the instruction, "Don't move," made total sense to a child developing inside a woman who was hostile to or ambivalent about the pregnancy. Movement would remind the mother of the child's existence  thus raising the mother's stress levels and causing a cascade of catecholamines (stress hormones) to pour into her bloodstream and the baby's. The baby would then go into protection mode instead of growth mode thus inhibiting its development. If in addition the mother used alcohol, caffeine, drugs or sugar as a coping mechanism she might further damage the baby or inhibit development by reducing oxygen levels in the blood or overtaxing the fetal liver or pancreas.

The bottom line here is that not moving makes a lot of sense when it comes to preserving the health of a growing fetus inside a stressed mother.

What about the self-loathing? How and when could that have been constructive?

If Nature's first imperative is to get us born her second is to make certain that we reach puberty so that we ourselves can reproduce. In order for this to happen she has to make sure that we neither kill our parents nor incite them to kill us.

In order for this to be assured in a family where parents exercise control over children through abuse or neglect the child has to "forget" almost as soon as it occurs any offense to the self and the soul committed by the parent. In order for this to happen the child must at various times suppress fear (perception of danger), anger (action in response to danger), pain (knowledge of the source of danger and the damage committed) and need (dependence upon the person committing the injury). It is the suppression of these emotions that creates the "bad" feeling associated with depression. Since we can't "remember" the source of the bad feeling and focus these emotions appropriately we blame and reject ourselves.

Depression that is so severe that it leads to suicidal thoughts or suicide itself reflects a situation that among our gathering/hunting forbears was handled by infanticide. If I child was conceived in a time of plenty but born in a time of want the mother's instinct was to abandon the child and walk away so that she would have the earliest chance possible to conceive again and give birth at a time when supporting a child was more probable. If the baby were to cry in distress as she walked away this would make it much harder for her. But if the baby were programmed to long for its own death it wouldn't protest but rather give up in silence (if it hadn't decided earlier to self-abort and make things easier all around) and make it easier for the mother to leave it behind and go on to conceive the next child at a better time. In Nature survival of the species always trumps survival of the individual.

In modern times while a mother may have the physical and financial resources to care for a child she may not be emotionally equipped to do so for a number of reasons. With abortion generally frowned upon, all kinds of technology available for babies who try to force the issue by  "leaving early" but aren't allowed to and infanticide illegal many babies are born to mothers who secretly  - or  sometimes even publicly - don't want them. In short they are forced into life when they've been psychologically programmed to die. When in future life anything like a birth experience looms (and this can be anything from just waking up in the morning to changing a job, a place of living or a partner) the feeling of wanting to die is triggered all over again.

It's important to remember that although depression begins in the womb it is reinforced over and over again in infancy and early childhood. Every incident where life and liveliness were inhibited or suppressed has to be brought to light and healed. It is also important to become aware of ways in which we perpetuated these patterns in our adult relationship and work choices.


Treating depression involves going back, layer by layer, through all the traumatic experiences to which we couldn't respond with full emotional vitality. These are usually either experiences we don't remember at all or remember with no feelings attached to the memory.  It requires above all the utmost patience with yourself.

Since the wounding occurred through relationship it can only be healed through relationship. That is to say you have to find someone - a therapist or a healer - who can be attentive to you and support your life in a way that your mother never could. This also needs to be someone who has done his or her own work on prenatal and birth experiences and can lead you back there safely without going into shock themselves.

I am someone who thought that my depression would never end - that it would always be there lurking in wait for me no matter what else happened in my life. No matter how bad it got, however,  I never took any medication because I instinctively knew that these chemicals would separate me from myself and impede my ability to feel things clearly.

While dealing with many other levels of abuse in my history I found myself returning again and again to life in the womb and my  experience of being born. My approach to treating depression (as well as for a host of other intractable syndromes like overeating, addiction and chronic anxiety) involves taking people micro-step by micro-step through their conception, first cell division, implantation of the embryo in the uterine wall, growth and transformation in the womb and birth. It also involves investigating what both their parents were experiencing when the germ cells (sperm and egg) were being formed in their bodies.

I do this not in a strict linear way but following the body's lead - noticing gesture, breath, body movement and posture and feeling into what these are communicating as well as listening to the patient's words, noticing facial expressions and emotional clues in the voice. Your unconscious is really the best guide to how to navigate your own healing path and it speaks through the body. When you learn how to follow it you will, finally, wake up from depression into the fullness of your life.



The impulse to overeat - to eat "emotionally' or "compulsively" comes from early oxygen deprivation (literally starvation of the embryo or fetus) in the womb. It is most acute when this deprivation occurs at the time of implantation (six or seven days after conception) or at the time of cell migration from the neural crest to form the organs of digestion (the end of the third week after conception - just around the time when a woman misses her first period and realizes she may be pregnant).

I call this first experience "implantation shock." The developing embryo has had  no food for almost a week as it continues to divide into more and more cells, doubling the number with each division. At last it implants ("And on the seventh day He rested") into what should be a uterine wall rich with blood and ready to receive and nourish it.

If, however,the woman has not been expecting the pregnancy or wanting it the empty follicle in the ovary from which the now-fertilized egg was discharged will not have sent down the hormone-rich liquids which are meant to soften the womb and make it ready to receive its guest. It's also likely that her blood will have more than the usual amount of stress hormones and possibly alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and excess acidity. The embryo-to-be will have a hard time attaching and, once attached, will not be getting all the oxygen-rich blood it needs.



I've  been struck by the frequency with which a patient - or even a friend in an uncomfortable conversation - will "go into his head," seemingly operating from that part of the body alone and detached from anything below the neck. I've just realized that this is quite a specific response to memories of insults to the head trying to push to the surface.

When people "go into their heads" it's because they've received wounds to the head in very specific physical ways - the head being slapped, punched, banged against a floor or a wall, gripped in a vise-like way, being dropped head first onto a surface or the hair being pulled. (Yes, there's birth trauma, too.)

I think this happens so frequently because the head is the part of the child that the parents most frequently attack. This is probably because it's the closest to the parent (in terms of reach) and also it's where the child's mouth is - the part that could speak up or fight back with teeth. To cow or intimidate this part of the body is to truly control the child.

So any time anxiety strikes we rush into our heads - both to defend them as best we can energetically and to disguise from ourselves the memory of the punishment we received there. Of course this can happen with any part of the body but as I said the head is where we would speak the truth from - the truth that would expose and disarm the attacker.



Most people who take a body-centered approach to healing trauma (the only kind of approach that I believe can work) focus on awareness and action. They try to use physical sensation as a way of bringing up sense memory of what happened and then stimulate the trauma survivors to make some kind of movement - with voice, body or both - to defend themselves as they weren't able to do at the time of the original injury. This brings tremendous relief as nerves fire and muscles wake up for the first time in years or decades.

But it is not enough. It's a beginning of change but in a matter of hours or days the survivor often experiences a feeling of heaviness, intense agitation, dissociation and the old, familiar separation from the self. What is missing?

Perception and action are just the first two stages of any fundamental human process. The next two - understanding and connection - are essential for it to feel integrated and complete.

So after we have gone back, seen and felt the attack and  successfully taken the action to defend ourselves we have to feel the pain of the damage that was done to us and comprehend what has been injured and lost. We need to feel how the cells of our body suffered and were compromised and how our life in the world was curtailed and warped. The emphasis here is on the word "feel -" an embodied understanding.

Then once we have felt the pain and understood the loss we need to connect the injured parts back to the whole. The cells need to discover a way to be received by the body in their damaged state and reinvigorated by it. And we must feel our need - the need for the people who injured us that allowed the injury to take place and, once that is acknowledged, our need for human connection in our current lives that our wounds kept at a distance.

Only when, after fear and anger, (perception of danger and action to save ourselves) we have felt pain and need (understanding of damage an reaching out for true connection can our healing be complete.
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