Equine and Parrot Therapy at Malibu Beach Recovery Center

At Malibu Beach Recovery Center and the Brentwood House, clients go to Big Heart Ranch for equine therapy. Big Heart explains its approach as follows:

Tamra 1 lflatten-5x7 (1).jpg“Through a series of activities, participants identify with the horses and learn how to better communicate with others. Participants work on problem-solving games, such as moving the horse through an obstacle course. Activities help clients learn to trust their thought processes as well as work in a team to think and act outside their comfort zone. Equine Therapy increases empathy through grooming activities and caring for the horses. The horses keep the participants in the moment, focused on a task and completely honest. All EAP sessions are facilitated by a licensed therapist or a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern under supervision of a BBS licensed supervisor.”

Casey, an MBRC alum, said that his four visits to Big Heart helped put him in touch with his feelings. “You learn that you have to control your feelings,” he said, “you have to talk gently to the horse to get him to do what you want, you can’t act angry or scared.” He rode a horse, walked him, and cleaned his hooves. But first, he had to put a chicken on his head to overcome any hesitancy, and if it’s possible to hear someone smile, I heard Casey grin a little when he said that.

Casey recalled that the counselors who accompanied them from MBRC were really good. If anyone doubts the value of equine therapy, he’d encourage them to try it.

Kevin, another MBRC client, characterized his visits as spiritual. He saw how raw and detached the animals were, and that they were away from “all the stuff that addicts and alcoholics are in.” They have a simple outlook. “This is the way life is, we have all the food we want, we have people paying attention to us, life is good.” Horses are in the present, it’s enough to be outdoors on a beautiful day, he explained.

Kevin saw a metaphor during his work with them – “their stability, their firm hold on life, and the challenges they face each day.” If he helped them navigate an obstacle course, he noticed how they might stop at a two by four. He thought of what it’s like to be in recovery, he said -- being aware of every footstep and of a person’s actions.myra and parrot.jpg

Kevin and Casey also attended Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary, a rescued parrots’ home that is part of The Association for P.A.R.R.O.T Care. It’s on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs Center in Brentwood, and the LA Weekly has called it the Best Secret Bird Therapy in 2011.

Kevin has a touching story about one visit. He has a buzz cut, and when the owner let the MBRC clients into a bird cage, one bird immediately flew over and perched on him. His previous owner had been a serviceman, who had the regulation short hair. He had been killed in action in Iraq, but the bird remembered that he had short hair.

“It was an awesome experience,” Kevin said. Such a simple experience, a simple interaction, gave him such gratitude. Very cool, he recalled.

Photos:  (Above) MBRC Counselor Tamra Youngblood at Big Heart Ranch (photo by Craig Sadler)

(Below): Brentwood House Counselor Myra Estes at the Parrot Sanctuary spends time with "Baccardi"


Linda Freud, Medical Intuitive

Personally I am a skeptic but I believe some people have heightened perceptions which they express through tarot cards, runes, and crystal balls. 

I have been told amazingly accurate information by the handful of astrologers and psychics I have met, beginning with Ramakrishna Sarathy, director Federico Fellini’s fortune-teller.  I interviewed him many years ago in New Delhi’s Ashoka Hotel.  Afterwards, he looked at my palm and told me I would marry someone from a “strange” country.   In fact, several years later in Rome I met my husband to be.  He had just defected from the Soviet Union – a “strange” country by all definitions. 

An investigative reporter by nature, I have been to healers in Mexico called curanderos and medicine men in India.  Dr. Soram Khalsa M.D., an American Sikh practicing a combination of eastern and western medicine at L.A.’s Cedar Sinai Hospital, really helped me with his acupuncture and natural remedies.

But until I met Linda Freud, I had never even heard of a “medical intuitive.”Linda Freud crop.jpg

As it turns out, just as police departments bring in a forensic psychic to solve a crime, a medical intuitive is sometimes brought in to find critical missing medical information that gets to the root causes of a complicated medical condition.    The phrase was coined by Carolyn Myss, herself a medical intuitive and the author of several bestselling books on the subject.

If you’re thinking “Medium” or “Psych”, Linda hardly looks the part. She’s more like a mild-mannered, soft-spoken PTA President. She works under the license of Dr. Thom Lobe, an M.D. and medical director of the Beneveda Medical Center in Beverly Hills, managing difficult clinical cases that have not responded to conventional approaches to medical care.   The leading physicians and medical researchers in the field of integrative medicine call her diagnostic and healing abilities “unique” and “amazing”. The list includes Gabriel Cousens, Dietrich Klinghardt, Thomas Rau, Hyla Cass, Elson Haas, Burton Goldberg, and Uzzi Reiss.

Her “gift” came late in life.  Well into her 30s, Linda was just an ordinary person with no real interest in medicine.  She worked as a manager for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and as a personal secretary for members of the Getty family.  She only became interested in health issues after she fell ill and then met her future husband David Freud, who was also seriously ill. During their courtship, he impulsively bought her a pendulum, which was to change the direction of their lives in ways they could not have imagined at the time, and lead to a restoration of their health.David Freud.jpg

Linda discovered that with pendulum in hand, despite having no medical background, she could tell people what was wrong with them.  She says she is “guided by angels” who control the pendulum.  When David, the son of a medical doctor, assembled a list of ailments, Linda’s diagnoses became more specific.  The pendulum would spin in a clockwise direction and indicate a precise health issue or a particular remedy.  David began to develop more sophisticated databases for Linda to channel -- or “pendle” as she calls it. Soon Linda could accurately identify environmental toxins, harmful pathogens, endocrine disruptions, and nutritional imbalances in her patients. 

David taught her sophisticated nuances of various forms of alternative medicine he had amassed over years of arduous research.   This allowed her to craft precise healing regimens derived from a broad array of natural remedies. These included orthomolecular nutrients, amino acids, glandulars, herbal medicines, and homeopathy. In addition she channeled customized diets based on one’s biochemical individuality.

We met Linda and David earlier this year. David had just finished writing (the project took more than three years) “The Healing Gift: Exploring the Remarkable World of a Medical Intuitive,” a book available on amazon.com, and the accompanying website.   Along with descriptions of Linda's work healing chronic degenerative diseases, the book includes conversations with David’s cousin Sigmund Freud and discussions about angels, reincarnation, and Kabbalah.   

When I met them, Linda and David were actively looking for a holistic rehab where she could send clients who were too addicted to alcohol and drugs to initially benefit fully from her work. Together with Khalil Rafati, owner of Malibu’s very holistic and spiritual Riviera Recovery Sober Living House, we created a 90 day program for Linda’s clients: 30 days at Malibu Beach Recovery Center for detox, treatment and stabilization. 60 days at Riviera Sober Living for further stabilization and treatment by Linda.  Khalil.jpg 

Of course, not a few members of our clinical team were skeptical about our newest “strategic partner.”  It all seemed so “out there.” 

At that point Khalil, who had a “great feeling right off about Linda because she is loving, maternal and serious about what she does” decided to ask her to do an initial work up on him.  

Khalil, 41, in recovery for more than 7 years, is very proud of his fit and youthful appearance which he attributes to his spiritual, holistic life style.  So he did not take kindly to Linda’s first pronouncement - she told him he had to follow for the next 7-8 months a customized anti-candida diet she had created for him.

“I was already into some pretty weird stuff,” he admits. “I did colonics and wheat grass enemas.  I spent $600 a month on the best and most amazing supplements you can buy.  I was eating royal jelly, bee pollen, goji berries, and doing Bikram yoga once or twice a day.  I was already seeing Dr. Soram Khalsa and Dr. Uzzi Reiss.  But I was still suffering from fatigue.  I had not slept well in years. I felt a tightness in my chest and found myself breathing shallow at times.  I was very sluggish.

“I kept thinking, how was a woman going to diagnose me with a pendulum and a list of medical ailments?

“I felt threatened,” he says, “but she was telling me things I knew she could not guess.  She was onto something and it was very serious.  Out of 15 supplements I took daily, she cut out all but 1 or 2.  She told me to take high doses of 5HTP (a natural substance found in the body that balances emotions) and other nutritional products.  She also had me take various homeopathic remedies I had never heard of, many of which were from Germany.  But truth is the truth: what she was telling me was the truth -– I felt it intuitively.” 

According to Linda with the help of the pendulum and a data base she was able to eliminate from Khalil's daily regimen of supplements those that were either not effective or were not tolerated by his body.

Two weeks into Linda’s treatment, a rash appeared on Khalil’s right arm and left ankle.  According to Linda it was a reaction to the parasites, candida (a form of fungus), and heavy metal toxins the supplements were causing Khalil's body to expel. 

Resentful, wanting to prove her wrong, craving ice cream, coca cola, Doritos and steak, Khalil headed for an integrative medical doctor in Santa Monica.  He continued to follow Linda’s protocol but had the new doctor test his blood, urine, saliva and stool.  When 10 days later the test results started coming in, he was astounded.  For the most part, the lab results concurred with the diagnoses Linda had channeled.

Khalil has now been seeing Linda for months. He reports he now sleeps through most nights. His body has changed -- body fat has disappeared and he can see developed abdominal muscles for first time in years.  His waist has shrunk from a 32 to a 30.  His mood is more stable.  He is much less aggressive  -- “and way happier.” 

Moral of the story:  Linda is clearly doing something very right and amazing.  All the testimonials in the book aside, right here in Malibu we have living proof.   We look forward to more.


The Physical Toll of Alcoholism

We hear over and over again that alcoholism wreaks havoc on the human body, but I’ll never forget the first time I learned how pervasive the damage can be.  Hearing about it is one thing, however, but seeing it in print really brought it home to me. It’s not pretty, and that’s a good place to start this cautionary post.Man and bottle.jpg


People who drink to excess suffer from poor nutrition because they can’t absorb vitamins properly, so aside from the physical complications, their appearance suffers. Overall poor health from alcoholism can make someone’s skin appear pasty and their hair look dull. If you’ve seen broken capillaries on someone’s face, you’ll probably agree they’re unsightly, too.


But that’s not the half of it. Let’s start at the top. Brain degeneration is a big problem, along with the possibility of severe memory loss and Wernicke-Korsakoff (“wet brain”) syndrome. Symptoms of the latter disorder include unsteady walking, hallucinating, confabulation (making up stories), and vision changes.


Experts say alcoholism can also lead to cancer of the colon, liver, larynx, and esophagus. Not only that, liver disease (alcoholic hepatitis), followed by cirrhosis of the liver, and esophageal bleeding are not uncommon, nor is pancreatitis.


The list goes on. Alcoholics can experience depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and nerve and heart muscle damage. In women, alcoholism can lead to the cessation of menstruation, and in men, to an inability to get an erection.


On one hand, many of these are clinical-sounding unemotional medical terms that read like a Scared Straight script, the talk prison inmates give to young people to try and keep them on the straight and narrow. On the other hand, if you or a loved one has experienced some of these complications, you know how serious they can be, and how heart-breaking.





Dr. Thom Lobe Brings Holistic Innovations to Malibu Beach Recovery Center

Earlier this week we welcomed Dr. Thom Lobe, MD, to the Malibu Beach Recovery Center staff roster as an independently affiliated physician.   We believe Dr. Lobe will be an important addition to the clinical team and will bring new dimensions to our successful holistic treatment program. 

Dr. Lobe is the founder and medical director of the Beneveda Medical Group in Beverly Hills.  In addition to being a highly skilled surgeon and a pioneer in the field of Siamese twin separation, Dr. Lobe has extensive knowledge in naturopathic medicine.  

He has developed a new medical specialty called "energy medicine" which can help to manage problems many consider resistant to conventional approaches such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight loss, osteoporosis, and others. Thom-Lobe-Headshot-Blue-Shirt-199x300.jpg

For years he has used his unique combination of western and holistic medical training skills to help clients with compulsive disorders.   It was only a matter of time before he segued into the field of addiction.  Luckily for our clients, he chose to begin here, with us, in the hills of Malibu.  

To further enhance the efficiency of the Malibu Beach Recovery System for Treating Addiction -- which uses a French low glycemic diet, yoga breath work and food supplements to raise dopamine levels and start the repair of damaged brain chemistry -- Dr. Lobe plans to introduce some of his state of the art equipment. 

Among the more interesting “machines” our clients are currently trying out is a Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES).  First developed in the Soviet Union to treat for insomnia, it has since been used by millions of people around the world.  Most research indicates CES, which Dr Lobe describes as a form of acupuncture, provides relief from anxiety, depression, insomnia and addictive behaviors through mild electrical stimulation of the brain. It also rebalances neurotransmitter activity, releasing serotonin and creating a sense of well being.

Clients are also being encouraged to use a Trinfinity8, sometimes called  the "Crystal Meditation Machine."  It is a new, non-medical, non-invasive technology which uses algorithms to give instructions to the body through numeric binary code.  Dr. Lobe believes it is a simple yet profound concept that is truly evolutionary that will increase awareness and assist our clients in attaining a state of self-balance while working to restore vitality.

Dr. Lobe’s associate Dr. Barry Lomax, N.D., a naturopath, will also be seeing clients every week and working with the clinical team to enhance the regimen of food supplements and amino acids.  More about Dr. Lomax in another blog.