"This is definitely a needed space. People forget about the mental problems and they focus on drugs, pills, and the physical things. But mental health is really important and it can actually affect your physical health as a result."
Watch our new short video on Communitas â†’
Promising results of Communitas study presented at international pediatric meeting by founder/director, Dr. Brittany Blockman →
Communitas to be featured in photo collaboration between Gillian Bostock, The Magnum Foundation, and Atlantic Philanthropies as part of a worldwide project to demonstrate the importance and impact of philanthropy. →
Founder/Director of Communitas presented with the American Academy of Pediatrics Anne E. Dyson Child Advocacy Award for her work in creating and directing Communitas
To improve the lives, health, and wellbeing of young people living with chronic illness and their families by providing transformative integrative medicine education and experiences, group support in a community of similar peers, and empowerment with self-care skills.
To transform the experience of pediatric chronic illness for the patient and the family into an opportunity for health and quality-of-life enhancement, resilience-building, and positive personal growth.
We dream of a world in which illness and adversity connect peopleâ€”rather than isolate them; where difficulties make people stronger, more resilient, and whole â€”rather than breaking them; and where meaning, purpose, insight can be found in coming together around lifeâ€™s most challenging experiences.
Generally, our programs offer a nurturing community environment and experiential healing techniques paired with a small-group support program, based on The Center for Mind Body Medicineâ€™s model. Mind-body medicine focuses on the bi-drectional interactions between mind and body and the ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors can directly affect health. The CMBMâ€™s groups have been utilized in a number of settings, including groups for individuals with chronic and life-threatening illness, victims of war-related trauma, and with children in school systems. Their model has been found to significantly reduce depression, hopelessness, and PTSD symptoms in traumatized children.
We provide a few different types of programs for young people living with chronic illness and their families:
Residential, 5-day/4-night retreats immersed in a natural setting. Currently, these retreats are taking place at the Commonweal Retreat Center in Bolinas, CA.
Online mind-body/resilience and group support programs.
What patients and their families can expect to learn and practice in the Communitas program:
Healthy nutritional principles
Using art and writing to deal with emotions
Additional components included in retreats:
Massage and healing touch
Movement practices (yoga, qi gong)
Acupressure or acupuncture
Music and sound therapy
Creative workshops including writing, photography, or film
the communitas name
â€œCommunitasâ€ is an anthropological concept that refers to the bonding and spirit of community that develop when people are connected by a common liminal experiences, such as chronic illness. In these situations, a sense of shared purpose and community develops and new insights and priorities can be inspired with others who are sharing a similar experience. It gets to the core of what can blossom when the usual social structures are stripped away through a shared traumatic experience.
A Heartfelt Testimonial
â€œThis program is so IMPORTANT. It totally makes you reconsider your problems and struggles, and connects you to an amazing community.â€œ
From a Patient’s Mother
Mind-body skills enhance an individualâ€™s sense of control and have been demonstrated to lower sympathetic nervous system arousal, decrease anxiety, and improve mood.