Expert Profile - Sarah Lobisco
Dr. Sarah Lobisco, ND
Functional Medicine Naturopath
Dr. Sarah Lobisco‘s Bio:
Sarah Lobisco, ND, IFMCP is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). She is licensed in Vermont as a naturopathic doctor and has earned her certification in functional medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM). Dr. LoBisco also holds a Bachelor of Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo and an Applied Kinesiology certification.
She is a speaker on integrative health, has several publications, and does independent contracting for companies regarding supplements, nutraceuticals, essential oils, and medical foods. Dr. LoBisco currently incorporates her training as a naturopathic doctor and functional medicine practitioner through writing, teaching, private practice, and her independent contracting work. She maintains her private wellness consultation practice through virtual consultations. Dr. LoBisco also enjoys continuing to educate and empower her readers through her blogs and social media. Her recent blog can be found at dr-lobisco.com.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to pursue a career in psychiatry?
Since I was a young child, I watched helplessly as loved ones struggled with the mental health issues of health anxiety and depression. I also painfully witnessed family and friends become prey to substance abuse and alcoholism. As a result, I made a commitment to myself to study something in the health profession that could provide emotional and physical relief to those I cared about. It was at that point I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology, with the intention to become a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Through the twists and turns of life, I ended up in nursing school and, with a history of chronic back pain, landed in a hospital receiving an emergency discectomy after an injury in the clinic. This ended my nursing career. The chronic pain I experienced was excruciating prior to and after the operation. At this point in time, my mom began pursuing alternative treatments for herself for her menopausal symptoms because she observed my struggles with emotional balance and chronic discomfort. Shortly after my surgery, she introduced me to essential oils and holistic healing.
A complete skeptic in anything unconventional, I read a 500+ page textbook on essential oils before I felt they were safe to use. The effects they had on my mind and body were so profound that I paused my decision to proceed with a pharmacy school and began exploring the world of integrative medicine. It was through a serendipitous internet search that I found naturopathic medicine and decided this would be my career. I was excited to learn that I could support one’s health along with all aspects of the individual that impact their thoughts and emotions. Later, I got certified in functional medicine to enhance my knowledge and clinical skills in personalized and systems-based medicine.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
Through my own experience, my loved ones, and working with clients, I realized how many people were silently struggling with mental health issues and how these were intricately connected to their bodily imbalances. I felt frustrated with how conventional medicine and psychiatry separated the mind and body when I knew at the deepest level that they were connected and interwoven. I wanted to use my naturopathic and functional medicine background to enhance people’s belief that they too could find healing, not just symptom relief, from emotional and physical scars.
This created a passion in me to dedicate myself to empowering people with the knowledge of their own innate healing ability. Through providing information to my clients, writing, and consulting work, my mission is to provide education to the public on the mind-body connection, the role of the mindset in healing, and the importance of caring for the brain in all matters. I also stress how self-care and emotional balance are as important, if not more so than any dietary or lifestyle intervention.
Personalized medicine approaches that assess and correct hormonal, genetic, digestive, mitochondrial, neurological, psychological, metabolic, brain health, and lifestyle imbalances are important. Yet, these are not enough. In order for lasting transformation to occur, one must get to the root of the issue.
It is acknowledged today that stress creates and contributes to mental and physical illness, but many ignore the deepest cause of it. This often lies buried in past hurts and traumas that limit beliefs. These keep one stuck in mental and emotional roadblocks and prevent the implementation of a successful lifestyle plan to achieve one’s goals. A true, healing, therapeutic partnership with doctors and practitioners that can be present and witness all aspects of the individual, including their deepest wounds, is the most powerful intervention there is to remove these barriers.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on working with patients dealing with mental health issues, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
I have always been interested in mental health and was amazed to learn how holistic healing impacted the mind and physical body in naturopathic medical school. Within the last few years of my 15 years + of practice, I decided to specifically devote myself to the specialty of mental health. I feel that now is the time to fully cease mental health stigma. It is an unnecessary barrier to addressing brain health for better psychological balance and mental issues are nothing to be ashamed of. What excites me the most is connecting psychiatry with integrative medicine and explaining the biological, chemical, structural, and functional differences that occur within the brain of one diagnosed with a mental health illness. I have seen time and time again that once these different imbalances of the brain are addressed and corrected, one’s emotional and mental health is optimized. This is usually followed by profound healing of the physical body.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
I use an integrated approach to mind-body medicine. I take a thorough health history, incorporate conventional lab results and functional tests as necessary, and apply a naturopathic and functional medicine model to balancing the brain and body. I address root imbalances in all areas of wellness, including genetic predispositions, past traumas and adverse events, environmental exposures, hormonal, digestive, circulatory, neurological, psychological, and metabolic issues, and anything else that presents itself. I incorporate dietary, lifestyle, and supplemental support along with mind-body therapies, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), yoga, and mindfulness, into one’s wellness plan. I also have extensive knowledge and expertise in using essential oils for mind-body balance.
I know that once one believes they can heal and their brain becomes balanced, they are able to live unencumbered and able to pursue their passion and values. Health is a means to get there, not the destination. One of my greatest tools is being a present, accepting, empowering witness and partner to my clients as they heal and transform into their highest potential.