Eastern medicine, psychology on collaborative path
Dr. April Schulte-Barclay has always thought of her practice, Healing Horizons, as an innovator in the field of Eastern medicine, and now it appears others around the nation are sharing that thought.
Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, 2139 N. 12th St., has been in Grand Junction since 2004 and offered acupuncture, massage therapy and Chinese medicine to patients in the Grand Valley. About seven years ago, psychologist Paula King joined the team and focused on the mental well-being of patients.
“We collaborate regularly. We really try to create a treatment plan that will be of the most benefit to the patient,” King said.
The combining of psychology and Chinese medicine stood out to the North American Traditional Chinese Medicine Symposium, which invited King and Schulte-Barclay to speak at its annual event last Sunday.
The pair was also recognized in an article in a magazine produced by the American Psychology Association.
“The fact that we’ve been recognized by the APA gives credibility to our work, and it feels really good. It feels like we’re pioneers in integrating psychology into a complementary care process,” Schulte-Barclay said. “It has been so exciting to be practicing together and to see our patients get better so much faster.”
Schulte-Barclay added that the collaboration with King at Healing Horizons was a natural fit as Eastern medicine focuses so much on mind, body and soul and not just remedies to an illness.
She said it’s more important to find the cause of disorders such as digestion issues. If it’s an alignment issue, she can work with a chiropractic specialist to help fix that. If there is emotional distress, King can step in and help the patient work through this.
“We recognize the emotional aspect, the physical aspect and how each organ system is related and how we’re related to factors in environment. It’s very personalized,” Schulte-Barclay said.
She also maintains contact with the patient’s primary care doctor and noted that many doctors also see her for treatment.
King noted the importance of the collaboration as it assists her treatment as well.
“It can help guide my work and identify more closely what mental health or behavioral health is most important to focus on right now,” King said.
King and Schulte-Barclay focused on specific patients they have had success with as a pair at the symposium, detailing particular interventions and how they collaborated.
The symposium was attended by more than 200 specialists in the field.
Each year, the North American TCM Symposium focuses on a different topic; this year it was mental and emotional disorders.
Wemeng Chen, president of the National Federation of Chinese TCM organizations, said King and Schulte-Barclay were natural fits because of the popularity of integrated medicine in the country.
“The trend nationwide is integrated medicine. Each practitioner can demonstrate strength and work as a team,” he said. “This will be the trend for the near future.”
King and Schulte-Barclay each said they aren’t aware of any other practices like theirs that combine Eastern medicine with psychology, but they are always on the lookout.
“It feels like we are the frontrunners in looking at health in this way,” Schulte-Barclay said.