Healing from Stress: Creating Awareness about the Brain-Gut Connection

gutbrainconnectionPhoto Credit: LightYourSparkle.lifeWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW 
May 2021 issue
Published at Taste for Life Magazine

This story originally appeared on Taste for Life

Every day, our guts and minds are busy having hidden conversations. Normally, we don’t care about the details of those conversations. However, according to Emeran Mayer, MD, a gastroenterologist, neuroscientist, and research professor at University of California, Los Angeles, we should pay attention to the communication occurring in our brain-gut-microbiome axis—our health and emotional well-being may depend on it.

Despite the prevalence of digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease, many people lack awareness of the connection between stress, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and their gut health, Dr. Mayer says. But when patients understand how “emotions play out in the theater of their guts,” he says they look at their symptoms or disease differently and can learn to manage aspects of their conditions rather than feeling like passive victims of the next flare or reoccurrence.

Dr. Mayer’s book The Mind-Gut Connection, published in 2016, makes the science of the brain-gut-microbiome relationship easily digestible. His forthcoming book, The Gut-Immune Connection ($27.99, HarperWave, 2021), continues to educate people on how to be proactive with their health.

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The Mind-Gut Connection and Stress with Dr. Emeran Mayer

Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW
April 2, 2021

I experienced a professional and personal milestone this month. I interviewed Dr. Emeran Mayer who is considered one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of mind-brain-body interactions in health and chronic disease.  His book The Mind-Gut Connection changed my life when I realized the intricate connections between my early childhood trauma and my development of Crohn's disease. His vivid description of the profound influence adverse childhood experiences have on the gut and immune system certainly warrants attention for those of us who live with gut-based disorders and illnesses. I wish for everyone to know about these connections, patients and physicians, so that we can continue to expand healing options. His new book, The Gut-Immune Connection is available for pre-order now. I will be getting my copy as soon as possible! 

For more information visit: 



Make Room for What is Important

Clean closet finalWritten by Casey Hersch, LCSW
March 27, 2021

Back to Basics

Letting go of physical clutter is one way to free ourselves to make room for what is most important. Since we are spending more time in our homes than in the past, why not let go of the clothes we will never wear, declutter the corners that steal space from what we really love, and stop clinging to old projects that no longer reflect who we want to be or where we wish to go. Let's start our 30-Day Clutter Detox Plan together!!! 

<Start your 30-Day Clutter Detox Plan HERE>

Hala Khouri Helps us find Peace From Anxiety

In this interview with Hala Khouri, author of Peace From Anxiety: Get Grounded, Build Resilience, and Stay Connected Amidst the Chaos, we discuss Hala's new book and ways to cope with stress and trauma. Using body-oriented approaches, Hala offers practical techniques to aid in self-regulation. She emphasizes feeling grounded, centered, in present time. Her comprehensive approach to anxiety aknowledges our humanity, the systems that perpetuate trama, and how to feel empowered over our own histories and nervous systems. Additionally, Hala offers an abundance of resources on her youtube channel. Lets get started on reprogramming our mind and bodies for peace and safety. We can do this together!

For more information about Hala's work visit: 




Show Your Family You Love Them Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

swan fam smallFebruary 18, 2021
Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW

During this month of love, I have been thinking about ways to show my loved ones how much I care amid the coronavirus pandemic. I have noticed some blessings since the pandemic---I have more time to give to my "framily," (friends/family). I realize that my "framily" does not want anything spectacular, except "more" time spent with me. I have made friends with zoom and a new way of connecting with others. I am used to face-to-face, especially since I am a therapist, so this new way of communicating is not easy for me.

In this article written by Syjil Ashraf, posted on the activetimes.com, they suggest ways to connect with family and show them your love.

Which of these have you tried? 

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Bring Out the Best in Yourself with The Face Yoga Method

In this interview I speak with Fumiko Takatsu, founder and CEO of the Face Yoga Method, a revolutionary pro-aging method. As I age with Crohn's disease, I seek pro-aging alternatives that avoid invasive procedures and chemicals. Fumiko’s method shows us how to feel empowered over the aging process rather than a victim of it. The Face Yoga Method demonstrates that the best anti-aging approaches are individualized, risk-free, and address the physical and emotional aspects of health. Fumiko is helping thousands of men and women worldwide to regain their confidence through a 100 percent natural alternative to cosmetic procedures. The Face Yoga Method has over 80 facial exercises that target every area of the face, meeting everybody’s unique needs.


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Reignite Your Relationship By Learning Your Style

casey and Dr Sue JohnsonCasey Hersch with Dr. Sue JohnsonFebruary 15, 2021
Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW

Relationships are difficult and rewarding at the same time.

We all want to find ways to make relationships easier and more fulfilling. However, the quest begins with some insight into our own relationship patterns.

When I went through a tumultuous relationship, a colleague gave me a book written by Dr. Sue Johnson called Hold Me Tight. As I held onto every word I found myself saying, "This is me! I act the same way!" As I started to understand my relationship style and how and why I react the way that I do, I began to choose healthier relationships and I stopped feeling broken. I found a map for how to be a better partner while beginning to heal my past at the same time. 

What is your default: Find the Bad Guy? The Protest Polka? Fight and Freeze? 

Ultimately, in every relationship we have patterns for how we respond to our partners, which are rooted in our childhoods and families of origin. We get stuck in unconscious and unhealthy cycles, reacting the same ways over and over, and wondering why the relationship feels stuck, broken, or unfullfilling. Dr. Sue Johnson calls some of those patterns Demon Dialogues and offers a brief quiz to help people explore how they respond during relationship conflicts. I highly recommend picking up your copy of Hold Me Tight. The book changed my life!

<Take the Quiz to find out your Demon Dialogue>




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