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Andrew Weil’s Keynote Address


A Vision of Integrative Mental Health

This morning’s keynote speaker, Andrew Weil, is the world’s leading proponent of integrative medicine—healthcare that ties together conventional and alternative medicine—and his work and ideas fit well into the theme of this year’s Symposium: “Creating a New Wisdom: The Art and Science of Optimal Well-Being.” 

I’ve been really looking forward to hearing him speak, and was definitely not disappointed by his talk. Rich Simon, in his introductory speech, mentioned that Andrew Weil is a “proponent of common sense in medicine,” and I absolutely agree with that statement. He said that “people are more than just bodies” and that other factors have to be taken into consideration when treating physical and mental health. He posed the question of why, in America today, more and more people are on antidepressant drugs when there are more mental health professionals offering services. He believes it has to do with a variety of factors, all of which are important to consider, including our diets and lack of physical exercise, disconnectedness to community and nature, direct-to-consumer advertising, and much more. 

I know all of his ideas, research, and practical suggestions really intrigued and inspired me. If you were able to attend this morning’s keynote, what did you think? Why do you think depression is so prevalent in our culture and what are the most effective ways to treat it? Do you agree with Andrew Weil’s thought, “I’m not so sure we’re supposed to be happy all the time….” and what do you think about that as it relates to your practice? What struck you the most about his talk?

*If you’re interested in seeing an edited excerpt from his new book, Spontaneous Happiness, see the article the Networker published in the January/February 2012 issue here.

03.23.2012   Posted In: Symposium 2012   By Jordan Magaziner

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