The Integrated Health Program is a collaboration between University Health Services and the Counseling and Mental Health Center at The University of Texas at Austin. This program brings mental health providers to University Health Services, creating a holistic team approach in the treatment of UHS patients. The Integrated Health Program has also initiated classes, programs, and other interventions available to students through the Counseling and Mental Health Center.
The Integrated Health team consists of psychologists, clinical social workers, and psychiatrists. This program uses the concept of mindfulness as the foundation of its approach to health. We emphasize a broad definition of health which views optimal health as the integration of physical, psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual well being.
What the Integrated Health Program Offers Students
- Initial consultations with IH counselors to address students' health goals
- Brief individual counseling
- Guidance in managing issues such as anxiety, depression, and self esteem
- Transitional support services and referrals to helpful resources at the University
- MindBody Lab for self-paced stress reduction interventions
- Psychiatric services, when indicated
- Referrals for other needed services in the Austin community
The program also offers the following classes and groups:
Integrated Health Classes
Why Would My UHS Provider Refer Me to a Counselor in Integrated Health Program?
Sometimes behavioral/lifestyle changes or psychological interventions can be quite helpful in addressing the symptoms that prompted you to consult a UHS medical provider. Common referrals to an Integrated Health counselor include:
- GI distress
- Chronic pain
- Relationship problems
- High blood pressure
- Chronic health conditions
- Unexplained physical symptoms
These are only some of the reasons why a UHS medical provider might want to include a counselor as part of your treatment team. With the emphasis on an integrated approach to health, the counselor can assist you in identifying different factors affecting your health.
"The journey toward health... is nothing less than an invitation to wake up to the fullness of our lives..."
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is the foundation of the IHP approach to health. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention purposefully in the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, we can begin to see more clearly how the choices we make affect our health and this in turn can promote change.
Diminished awareness of the present moment severely limits our ability to see the variety of choices that we have in responding to any given situation. Instead, we tend to react automatically and get locked into self-defeating patterns, making change very difficult. Through learning to practice mindfulness, we can empower ourselves to take a more active role in our health and well being.
Mindfulness has numerous benefits including:
- Increased ability to cope with stress
- Improved concentration and creativity
- Greater energy and enthusiasm
- Better work performance
- Improved self esteem
- Reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain
- Improved immune system
How Has Mindfulness Been Used?
Mindfulness has been used with groups as diverse as corporate employees and leaders; educators; students of all ages, including those in professional schools such as law, medicine, and nursing; attorneys; prison inmates; health care professionals; and Olympic and professional athletes.
Mindfulness is used as the basis for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs that were founded in 1979 at UMass Medical Center by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Since then, numerous hospitals and private practitioners around the world have begun to offer such programs including the UT Integrated Health Program (IHP)¹.
"Our true home is in the present moment. When we enter the present moment deeply, our regrets and sorrows disappear, and we discover life with all its wonder. " – Thich Nhat Hanh
Some students have found the following books helpful - either as an introduction to the concepts underlying our program or as a way of continuing their exploration of mindfulness. Many of these books can be found at UT Libraries and/or the UHS Health Promotion Resource Center, which is located in SSB 1.106 and provides a lending library of self-help books, audiotapes, videocassettes, and brochures on a variety of topics.
Wherever You Go, There You Are By Jon Kabat-Zinn(Hyperion, 2005).
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness By Jon Kabat-Zinn (Delta, 1990).
Peaceful Mind: Using Mindfulness & Cognitive Behavioral Psychology to Overcome Depression By John McQuaid, Ph.D. and Paula E. Carmona, RN, MSN. (New Harbinger Publications, 2004).
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook By Edmund Bourne (New Harbinger; 4th Edition, 2005).
Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body and Mind By Frank Jude Boccio (Wisdom Publications, 2004).
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness By J. Mark Williams, Teasdale, Segal, & Kabat-Zinn (Guilford Press, 2007).
Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life By Scott Spradlin (New Harbinger Publications, 2003).
Calming Your Anxious Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Anxiety, Fear, and Panic By Jeffrey Brantley (New Harbinger; Revised Edition, 2007).
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha By Tara Brach (Bantam/Dell, 2003).
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind By Joan Borysenko(Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1993).
¹Excerpt by Lynn Rossy, Mindfulness Practice Center at University of Missouri-Columbia