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Urban Connect is an information hub dedicated to sharing resources related to Yoga, Buddhism, and Psychology, and exploring the connections of these subjects, for the purpose of promoting personal growth and healing. The site also targets how these subjects relate to under-served urban communities and the adversities they encounter.

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Psychology

A list of psychology resources including relevant websites pertaining to a wide range of mental functioning (from optimal mental health to severe mental illness), and covering a variety of subfields like neuroscience and homelessness. This page also includes healthcare providers who incorporate Buddhism, mind-body practices, and meditation into their treatment of psychiatric and medical conditions, as well as low-cost mental health treatment options in NYC.


Inspiring Professionals

This is a list of healthcare professionals that integrate yoga, Buddhism, and other holistic approaches into traditional Western approaches to the treatment of dis-ease.

Tara Brach - A clinical psychologist, Buddhist meditation teacher, and author. Her website includes a substantial collection of educational podcasts, guided meditations, articles, and other information related to Buddhism and psychological healing.

Dr. Miles Neale - A Buddhist psychotherapist and meditation teacher. Check out the 'Downloads' section for access to educational podcasts, videos, and other resources.

Dr. Joe Loizzo - A psychiatrist, Buddhist scholar, and author, who is also the founder and director of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull
of what you really love.
— Rumi

Dr. Pilar Jennings - A writer, researcher, and psychoanalyst in NYC who integrates Buddhist meditation practices and psychoanalytically oriented therapy. She works with inner city families in Harlem, as well as in a number of other settings.

Dr. John E. Sarno - A physician and author practicing mind-body medicine at New York University Medical Center. He offers an alternative theory and extensive treatment program for those with chronic pain typically thought to be caused by various musculoskeletal disorders.

Dr. Gabor Maté - A renowned physician, speaker, and author with expertise in addiction, mind-body health, ADHD, and childhood development. He offers a well-rounded perspective that integrates science, case histories, and his own wisdom, which seem to be inspired by Eastern thought. 

Dr. Elizabeth Visceglia - A psychiatrist who incorporates yoga, breath work, and meditation into her psychotherapy practice.

Dr. Rick Hanson - A neuropsychologist and author who incorporates contemplative practice into his work. Sign up for his free weekly e-newsletter, "Just One Thing", which offers a simple practice grounded in neuroscience, positive psychology, and contemplative training in an effort to create joy, peace, and fulfilling relationships.

Dr. Jeffrey Rubin - A psychotherapist in NYC who combines Buddhism with traditional psychoanalysis, creating what he terms "Meditative Psychotherapy". He is also an author and teacher.

Dr. Dan Siegel - A psychiatrist, educator, and prolific author who integrates neuroscience and mindfulness in his research, teachings, and clinical practice. He coined the term Mindsight, which is a learnable skill that involves emotional and social intelligence. He also coined the term Interpersonal neurobiology, which is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the mind and mental health. There are various tools on his website, including meditation podcasts, offered for free under the Resource section of his site; all that is asked is that you join his mailing list.

Dr. Mark Epstein - A psychiatrist in NYC, brilliant speaker, and author of a number of books about the connection between Buddhism and psychotherapy. 

Dr. Debra Rosenzweig - A clinical psychologist in private practice in NYC and educator at the Mind-Body Institute and Clinical Psychology Department at Teachers College, Columbia University, whose work is informed by Buddhism and mindfulness. 


Neuroscience

Dr. Richard J. Davidson - An award-winning neuroscientist, professor, and prolific author who studies affective and contemplative neuroscience. In other words, he explores how we understand the mind, our emotions, how to nurture well-being for ourselves and others, as well as how meditation changes the brain. He is the founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CIHM website has a number of helpful resources related to mindfulness, meditation, and healing, under the Resources tab.


Treatment of Mental Illness & Promotion of Mental Health

National Alliance on Mental Illness - An organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness, through the use of advocacy, support, education, awareness, and research.

Soteria - The Soteria Project was led by Dr. Loren R. Mosher from 1970-1992 to explore community alternatives for the treatment of schizophrenia. The project utilized a humanistic approach to treatment, based on creating an enriching social environment and minimizing the use of psychotropic medications. Although the results of the research were successful and promising, the work was not continued because of controversial issues. Disclaimer: I am not suggesting a person should stop taking their prescribed psychotropic medications based on the results of this study. It is always important to speak with your healthcare provider before stopping medications. On the other hand, I am in full support of the humanistic approach used during the years of the Soteria Project and believe the field of psychiatry could benefit from these insights.

The Mindful Son - James Hickman is a motivational and inspirational speaker, who claims to have survived schizophrenia, became a psychotherapist, and has written the book, The Mindful Son: A Beacon of Hope Through the Storm of Mental Illness. I have not personally read the book, but it seems like an interesting account of mental illness as viewed from the perspective of a a patient, a healthcare provider, and a family member of someone with mental illness. 


Low Cost Treatment Options in NYC

The Harlem Family Institute - Providing free or low-fee psychological treatment for children and families in under-served areas.


Homelessness

National Health Care for the Homeless Council - An organization aimed at ending homelessness through the use of advocacy, education, research, collaboration, and training. 

Coalition for the Homeless - An organization that helps homeless individuals through advocacy and direct service.

Reciprocity Foundation - An organization in NYC that works with homeless youth using a "Whole Person" approach. They offer a Film & Media Education Program, an Educational Support Program, and Holistic Services including counseling, yoga and meditation, and mindfulness retreats.


Trauma and Violence

We are not changing what happened - we are changing the way it lives in us.
— Elena Brower & Erica Jago

Joyful Heart Foundation - A national organization that works to end sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse by healing, educating, and empowering survivors.

The Crime Victims Treatment Center - Part of Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, they offer free and confidential services to survivors of interpersonal violence. They offer crisis intervention, individual and group trauma-focused therapy, legal advocacy, complementary therapy and psychiatric consultation.


Incarceration

Getting Out by Going In (GOGI) - A non-profit organization that serves to educate and inspire incarcerated men, women, and children who want to improve their lives and make more positive decisions. They also bring yoga to prisoners through their program, GOGI Yoga. 

Liberation Prison Project - A Tibetan Buddhist non-profit organization and social service project that supports Buddhist practice of thousands of incarcerated people around the world. Their staff and volunteers offer spiritual advice and Buddhist teachings, as well as books and materials, to people in prison interested in exploring, studying and practicing Buddhism.

Prison Mindfulness Institute - An initiative that provides evidence-based mindfulness-based criminal justice interventions to prisoners and prison staff, conducts research on these interventions, trains individuals to teach these interventions, and assists people who have been released from prison with the reentry process.

The JUSTICE Project - The Ackerman Institute for the Family offers services to unite and support families involved with or impacted by the criminal justice system. The institute also offers mental health services for families coping with a variety of other issues, and fees are on an income based sliding scale.


Addiction

Yoga of 12-Step Recovery - Y12SR is a curriculum that integrates yoga and traditional 12-step programs to aide in recovery from addiction. The program was developed by Nikki Myers, and it offers meetings which incorporate traditional aspects of 12-step meetings and an intentional yoga practice, as well as education and training. Further, their Urban Outreach Program brings Y12SR to under-served populations of recovering addicts and their families.

New York Harm Reduction Educators - Free acupuncture, reiki, and bodywork to assist recovery. 2nd Saturday of each month, 1-5 PM. 104-106 E. 126th St, Manhattan. 


Mind-Body Treatment Modalities

Somatic Experiencing - A well-researched psychobiological treatment aimed at resolving symptoms of trauma and chronic stress, created by Dr. Peter A. Levine.

Comprehensive Resource Model - A body-based treatment modality that provides the neurobiological foundation to create a sense of safety, which enables healing from trauma by retraining the brain to recognize fear responses as relevant to the past but not the present. The modality can be used with other psychotherapeutic methods, and there are training programs available for interested practitioners.


Integrative Health

Slow down everything in your brain, make space between thoughts and actions.
— Elena Brower & Erica Jago

Your Skillful Means - A resource site sponsored by the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, inclusive of psychological and spiritual practices aimed at personal growth and spiritual and psychological development. This site could be a useful resource for mental health and spiritual practitioners and teachers, and it is also possible to be a contributor on the site. It is also useful for people that are looking for psychological and spiritual tools they can practice at home, including instructions for meditation.

International Network of Integrative Mental Health - A global organization that aims to advance an integrative holistic approach to mental health through education, research, networking, and advocacy. They support the use of complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches to mental health treatment, which include yoga and meditation. There is a wealth of resources on their website.

The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy - A non-profit organization offering education and training to mental health professionals interested in the integration of mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy.


Other Miscellaneous Resources

The Mental Illness Happy Hour - A weekly online podcast hosted by comedian Paul Gilmartin that explores mental illness, trauma, addiction, and negative thinking through interviews with various people. His intention is to create a space for connection and to foster hope for those suffering from issues with mental health.