Dr. Joan Borysenko


About Dr. Joan Borysenko -  Leading Expert on Stress, Spirituality, and the Mind/Body Connection:

Dr. Joan Borysenko is a distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine and a world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection. Her work has been foundational in an international health-care revolution that recognizes the role of meaning, and the spiritual dimensions of life, as an integral part of health and healing. Eloquent and inspiring in settings that range from hospitals to hospices, from theaters to conference venues, and from boardrooms to houses of worship, she is a credible bridge between faith and reason. Her brilliance, humor, and authenticity - in combination with the latest research - make her a compelling and inspiring speaker and writer.

After graduating magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 1967, Dr. Borysenko earned her doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Harvard Medical School, where she completed post-doctoral training in cancer cell biology. Her first faculty position was at the Tufts University College of Medicine in Boston. But after the death of her father from cancer, she became more interested in the person with the illness than in the disease itself, and returned to Harvard Medical School to complete a second postdoctoral fellowship, this time in the new field of behavioral medicine. Under the tutelage of Herbert Benson, M.D., who first identified the relaxation response and brought meditation into medicine, she was awarded a Medical Foundation Fellowship and completed her third post-doctoral fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology.

In the early 1980’s Dr. Borysenko co-founded a Mind/Body clinic with Dr. Benson and Dr. Ilan Kutz, became licensed as a psychologist, and was appointed instructor in medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Her years of clinical experience and research culminated in the 1987 publication of the New York Times best-seller, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, which sold over 400,000 copies. The 20th anniversary edition, newly revised, was published in 2007. Author or co-author of 13 other books and numerous audio and video programs, including the Public Television special Inner Peace for Busy People, she is the Founding Partner of Mind/Body Health Sciences, LLC located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Dr. Borysenko’s warmth and credibility - plus her lively sense of humor - create a compelling presence. Her inspirational reflections are featured frequently on Hallmark Channel’s New Morning program, and she also hosts a weekly Internet radio show, Your Soul’s Compass, for Hay House. One of the most popular and sought after speakers in the field of health, healing, and spirituality, her engaging and well researched presentations are perfect both for professionals and for the general public.

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What Dr. Joan Borysenko Talks About:

The Art and Science of Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving
Resilience is more than the ability to bounce back from adversity. It’s a transformative process that reveals our inherent nobility, a rite of passage from pieces to peace. Mythologist Joseph Campbell called this passage The Hero’s Journey. It consists of three parts.

  • Separation: Change disrupts the status quo and plunges us into the unknown
  • Liminal Time. This is the Unknown, wherein we can either despair and lose hope or- if we’re resilient- discover new strengths
  • The journey of resilience ends with giving back the wisdom we’ve gained to family, friends, work, community, nation, and the world. Modern psychology and neuroscience have clearly identified the attitudes and practices that support resilience. Both adults and children can learn these skills and help bring one another and our planet through the challenging times we live in

It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change
The world is in crisis, but you don’t have to be. We all know resilient people who bounce back from hardship and create their best lives. That’s the promise of change. Other people stress out and melt down, losing hope and health. That’s the danger in times of change. The good news is that resilience isn’t a genetic gift for the lucky few. It’s an easily understood skill of transformation that anyone can practice and master.

Resilient people face reality head-on, take action, find deeper meaning in life, laugh often, and are masters of improvisation. A new kind of natural selection is already having its way with us. We’re being prepared to become a whole-brain species and to use the full potential of both right and left brain to recreate the world.

Mindfulness: The Practical Neuroscience of Leadership
Recent research indicates that mindfulness training reduces stress, increases emotional balance, resilience, equanimity, and creativity through stimulation of the left and medial pre-frontal cortex (PFC). It brings our Wise Self online. Mindfulness also decreases mental rigidity and enhances relationality, allowing for better decision-making.  The health benefits of mindfulness range from reprogramming the brain and nervous system to reducing inflammation. In this daylong training (also available in shortened format as a lecture or short workshop) the focus will be 3-fold involving theory, practice, and discussion.

The Cutting Edge of Mind-Body Medicine: From Immunology to Neuroscience
The most important determinant of physical health is mental health. In this research-based practical presentation, participants will learn how adverse childhood experiences set the stage for chronic illness and substance abuse later in life through epigenetic changes, neurochemistry, immune function, and brain wiring. Dr. Borysenko will examine how evidence-based psychological interventions can rewire neuro-hormonal circuitry and help restore both physical and mental balance. Some of the interventions covered include the modification of explanatory style, stress hardiness and resilience training, narrative medicine, meditation and mindfulness techniques, imagery, cognitive approaches, and the all-important gut-brain connection. Since the quality of the provider-client relationship is key to healing, there will be a focus on how to optimize the therapeutic bond in professional presentations.

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 Recent Publications

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Dr. Borysenko is a wonderful speaker! She incorporates evidence, life stories, and practical tips in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. We could not be happier with her as our keynote.

Kaiser Permanente

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