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About Brittany Blockman

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So far Brittany Blockman has created 10 blog entries.

Mind-Body Medicine Overview (Communitas Group 1)


-Dr. Jim Gordon, Center for Mind-Body Medicine:  https://cmbm.org/self-care/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD_71eoxPFM (5:32)


-Soft Belly Breathing recording:

 (Cliff Smyth)


-Gordon, J. S. (1996). Manifesto for a new medicine: Your guide to healing partnerships and wise use of alternative therapies. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

-Goleman, D. & Gurin, J. (1993). Mind body medicine: How to use your mind for better health. Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports Books.

-Phillips, M. (2007). Reversing chronic pain. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

October 16th, 2016//By //

Autogenics (Communitas Group 2)


Raymond Lloyd Richmond:  http://www.guidetopsychology.com/autogen.htm#1


Yasmine Buraik: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lzi4T6mu0U (audio recording: 14:00)


Cliff Smyth: General autogenics process: TB uploaded

Cliff Smyth: Autogenic hand warming:



Sadigh, M. R. (2004). Autogenic training: A mind-body approach to the treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome. New York, NY: Haworth Medical Press

October 16th, 2016//By //

Meditation and Mindfulness (Communitas Group 3)



  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society Mindfulness Meditation: [Series 3 is recommended] http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/collections/cds OR http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/collections/mp3s
  • Gina Biegel, LMFT, Mindfulness for Teens: Meditation Practices to Reduce Stress and Promote Well-Being (CD, MP3) http://www.stressedteens.com/store/
  • Amy Saltzman, MD, Still Quiet Place: Mindfulness for Teens (CD) Available from http://www.stillquietplace.com/?page_id=16
  • “Mindfulness Meditation for Teens” by Bodhipaks
  • Mindfulness bodyscan meditation, Dave Potter, MBSR instructor, Guided body scan: http://palousemindfulness.com/disks/bodyscan.mp3 (33.01)
  • Mindfulness bodyscan meditation – Guided body scan: http://palousemindfulness.com/disks/bodyscan.mp3 (33.01)



  • Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their parents) by Eline Snel and Myla Kabat-Zinn. Includes a CD.
  • Gina M. Biegel, The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness Skills to Help You Deal with Stress (Instant Help Books, 2009)
  • Joseph V. Ciarrochi, Louise Hayes, and Ann Bailey, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life (Instant Help, 2012)
  • Mark C. Purcell and Jason R. Murphy, Mindfulness for Teen Anger: A Workbook to Overcome Anger and Aggression Using MBSR and DBT Skills (Instant Help, 2014)
  • Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Pub- lications, 2010)
  • Christopher Willard, Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety: A Workbook for Overcoming Anxiety at Home, at School, and Everywhere Else (Instant Help, 2014)
  • Dzung Vo, The Mindful Teen (Instant Help, 2015)


  • Burch, V. & Penman, D. (2013). You are not your pain: Using mindfulness to relieve pain, reduce stress, and restore well-being. New York, NY: Flat Iron Books. (Based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with a primary focus on pain.)
  • Kornfield, J. (2004). Meditation for beginners. Bolder, CO: Sounds True.
  • Susan Kaiser Greenland, The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate (Free Press, 2010)
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (rev. and updated ed.) (Bantam Books, 2013)
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—And Your Life (includes audio CD) (Sounds True, 2012)
October 16th, 2016//By //

Mindful Nutrition (Communitas Group 3)




  • Chozen Bays, J. (2009). Mindful eating: A guide to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship to food. Boston: Shambala.
  • Hanh, T. N. & Cheung, L. (2011). Savor: Mindful eating, Mindful life. New York, NY: Harper Collins
  • Albers, S. (2009). 50 ways to sooth yourself without food. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
  • Albers, S. (2011). “But I deserve this chocolate”: The 50 most common diet-derailing excuses and how to outwit them. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
  • Albers, S. (2009). 50 ways to sooth yourself without food. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
  • Albers, S. (2011). “But I deserve this chocolate”: The 50 most common diet-derailing excuses and how to outwit them. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
October 16th, 2016//By //

Movement (Communitas Group 5)


  • American Heart Association: www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Physical-Activity_UCM_001080_SubHomePage.js
  • President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition: Ideas and resources: www.fitness.gov
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/
  • National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability: http://www.ncpad.org/content/9/Exercise~and~Fitness


  • Davis, M., Eshelman, E. R., McKay, M. (2008). The relaxation and stress reduction workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. Chapter 20, pages 329–353 provides information about different types of exercise, dealing with barriers to exercise, making your own plan, and online resources.
  • Sharfarman, S. (1997). Awareness heals: The Feldenkrais Method for dynamic health. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Contains gentle awareness through movement exercises for flexibility, easier movement, and pain reduction.
  • Ratey, John. J. (2008). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company
  • Reynolds, Gretchen. (2012). The first 20 minutes: Surprising science reveals how we can exercise better, train smarter, live longer. New York, NY: Hudson Street Books.
  • Broad, William. J. (2012): The Science of Yoga: The risks and the rewards. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster.
October 16th, 2016//By //

Breathing (Communitas Group 5)




October 16th, 2016//By //

Writing & Journaling (Communitas Group 6)

RESARCH articles

  • Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346. doi: 10.1192/apt.11.5.338 Available from: http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338
  • American Psychological Association: Gratefulness and heart health http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/04/grateful-heart.aspx


 There are many books and other resources on journal writing, story telling, and poetry, and how they can contribute to your health and your life. Here are a few.

  • DeSalvo, Louise. (1999). Writing as a way to healing: How telling stories transforms our lives. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
  • Fox, John. (1997). Poetic medicine: The healing art of poem-making. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.
  • Capacchione, Lucia. (1989). The well-being journal: Drawing upon your inner power to heal yourself. North Hollywood, CA: Newcastle Publishing.
  • Stone, Richard. (1996). The healing art of story telling: A sacred journey of personal discovery. New York, NY: Hyperion.
  • Rainer, Tristine. (1979). The new diary. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher.
  • Lee, John. (1994). Writing from the body: For writers, artists and dreamers who long to free your voice. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
October 16th, 2016//By //

Relaxation and Stress Management


  • “Indigo Dreams: Relaxation and Stress Management Bedtime Stories for Children to Improve Sleep, Manage Stress and Anxiety” by Lori Lite
  • “Relaxation and Self-Regulation Techniques for Children and Teens: Mastering the Mind-Body Connection” by Dr. Mary Karapetian Alvord and Dr. Bonnie Zucker



  • Breathe, Chill: A Handbook of Games and Techniques Introducing Breathing, Meditation, and Relaxation to Kids and Teens, by Lisa Roberts, RYT, RCYT
  • The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids, by Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D. and Robin K. Sprague, LCPC


October 16th, 2016//By //

Invisible Illnesses

My name is Lily, and I have had Juvenile Arthritis since I was a toddler.

For the past 18 years, I have watched the power of medicine– from rheumatology appointments to x-rays and MRIs, drug infusions to surgical procedures, or physical therapy to nonprofit philanthropies. I’ve watched it all happen around me, and it became my “normal”.

I joined the Communitas family a year ago, and have learned that healing stems not only from drugs and science, but also mindfulness and meditation. This program is incredibly impactful, and I am excited to see how it affects this current group of young adults and parents.

Many of us who participate in the Communitas program can relate to the feeling of hidden suffering. While we may be young and seemingly carefree, we are battling numerous chronic illnesses, and have learned to mask the pain.

For my first blog post, I have decided to focus on the topic of our daily lives, and how much we are impacted by our disabilities. Hopefully, this will not only help you feel less alone in your struggles, but it will also help others gain insight into the world of invisible illnesses.

Attached is a short poem I wrote to reflect my feelings of frustration. I encourage all of you to keep a journal and write down everything that is going on in your life…It can be incredibly healing.



Today, I woke up in a flare.

            I lift my arms up over my head, slowly, anticipating even the smallest movement to cause a chain reaction of pain. Swinging my legs out from my cocoon of warmth, I feel my knees swell from the pressure of motion.

            Today, I am in a flare.

            Act normal. Say hello, walk in a straight line. Keep your gaze straightforward; the neck stiffness is making it difficult to look around. I feel my right hip joint buckle unnaturally, a dull ache that demands attention. Now limping, a young athlete hollers to move out of his path. I grant forgiveness for his rude attitude—my illness is invisible. He didn’t know better. He is entitled.

            During work, I am in a flare.

            Standing on my feet for hours. My back begins to heat up—I know it’s not happy with me. It begs me for a ten-minute break, which is an hour away. Act normal, smile at customers. Massage your shoulders at every opportunity. An elderly woman comments that rain is aggravating her rheumatism. I wink and strongly empathize. She gives me a cold look and proceeds to lecture me on the trials and tribulations of aging. Her advice: live while you’re young. I provide her with jasmine green tea and she exits. The day stretches on.

            At the party, I am in a flare.

            Social occasions. I promised my friend that I would be there; it would break her heart if I had to cancel…again. I look around for an escape route. As always, I am surrounded by happy, healthy people who have little to worry about. By now, all 360 joints in my body are swollen, tired, and ready to give up. Act normal, be friendly.

            Tonight, I am in a flare.

            I waddle home, carrying a ten-pound backpack. Gently, I untie my shoes and run a bath. I soak for hours, waiting for some relief that I know is far away, unattainable. I crawl back into bed, knowing I have to wake in six hours to repeat it all over again.

            Tomorrow, I will wake up in a flare.


I wish you all well in the next coming weeks. It is the season for sneezing and head colds, so take care of yourselves.


April 25th, 2016//By //

Welcome to the Communitas website and blog!  I hope this site serves as a resource for young people facing chronic illness and their families.

Through my personal and professional experiences, I have come to see serious and chronic illness as a turning point for patients and families. With that in mind, I have had a long-standing vision to establish Communitas, a program for young people with serious chronic illness and their families to come together to heal and explore what really matters.

I have been on a path to create Communitas ever since I lost my mother to cancer during high school. My journey with my mother through her 3-year experience with cancer taught me about what is at stake for patients and their families and what it is like to live with the ups and downs of chronic illness. It inspired me to become a doctor who puts the patient’s and family’s values and experiences first and to strive for a kind of medicine that helps people not only heal, but thrive. As I journeyed with my mother through her battle with cancer, I saw first-hand the healing powers of a holistic approach to health that involves engaging with self-care and mind-body techniques, nourishing the body through healthy nutrition, reducing stress, spending time in the natural environment, and connecting with a supportive illness community.

My mother’s life ended far too soon, but I have made it my mission to carry the torch my mother lit for me and bring communities together around serious illness, expand their conceptions of healing, and help lift people up in the face of adversity. I believe that given the right environment, community, and tools, adversity can be the thing that transforms a life and family in a positive way. With this in mind, I envision a new healing model in Communitas that brings people together and helps families re-orient their lives in a positive way moving forward from illness.

My long-term vision is that Communitas would evolve over the next 1-2 years to become both an outpatient day-program and a long-weekend retreat program hosted in a natural environment for young people with chronic and life-threatening illness and their families. I look forward to partnering with others to make this dream a reality.



March 9th, 2016//By //