Reflections: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Cycle 3 at UCLA

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 04:43 Written by nicole Tuesday, 21 May 2013 10:49

3590414135 a2c5cced7a Reflections: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Cycle 3 at UCLABY GILLIAN CILIBRASI

“Imagine a healthcare system where the patient is treated, not just the disease. Imagine a system where eastern healing techniques, yoga therapy, essential oil therapy, nutrition and contemplative care are used in combination with western medicine in a holistic approach to patient care.”

In 2009 I was drawn to the UZIT Program as a practitioner and especially drawn to the notion that drove the program… to imagine. I love being a part of something new, something innovative. Donna Karan’s words inspired me to join a movement to revamp patient-care as we know it- especially since we will all likely be patients at one point in our lives.

Some time ago, I heard someone say that the word imagination means image in action. These words are especially resonant now with the work we are doing in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program. As I sit here watching the 50 trainees in the current training at the UCLA Health System move through the integration of the UZIT modalities I realize that we know no longer have to imagine, we have acted. We are in this new paradigm of blending east and west. At UCLA Health they call it “East Meets Best”, signifying the arrival of the UZIT eastern modalities into the finest medical institution on the west coast. These trainees are telling me of the profound experience they are having- simply by being able to offer their patients a body scan or propping them in a more comfortable and efficient position for healing- drugless offerings that allow their patients to relax without having to administer additional medication. 

While observing these practitioners, I visualize a pebble being thrown into a pond- concentric circles radiating outward to encompass all of their patients, loved ones, and the staff that they will touch with this newfound knowledge. Many of them are just beginning their journey using the UZIT modalities of yoga therapy, Reiki, essential oil therapy, contemplative care and nutrition for self-care. For this, all of the patients at UCLA are blessed with the opportunity for an enhanced care plan and an invitation to become an active participant in their own healing. I am honored and grateful to be here to witness the realization of Donna’s vision.


In gratitude,

Gillian Cilibrasi

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program Director

Keep up with UZITs in training here.

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The Voice of UZIT Program Director Gillian Cilibrasi: Gratitude

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 03:52 Written by Wednesday, 8 May 2013 03:17

gillian haiti The Voice of UZIT Program Director Gillian Cilibrasi: Gratitude


















While 50 doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals are on the mat in a restorative relaxation pose learning how to teach others do this through embodiment, the team behind the scenes is hard at work making sure all the details are attended to. It’s busy, and as with anything- things come up. During this Urban Zen Integrative Therapy training at UCLA Medical Center however, we were all given cause to pause. This cycle we were fortunate to have a UCLA patient and her family visit the lectures to share with the new trainees how the UZIT modalities have supported her- both for the duration of her treatment in the hospital and in her ongoing journey through healing. Through her tears and laughter, she shared a story of strength and relaxation. We all cried and laughed along, held in the energy of the moment– completely present.

When the patient’s mother spoke about our program, she spoke about how “there’s a missing link in medicine, and it’s touch.” She lovingly looked at her daughter as she went on to explain to the new UCLA UZIT trainees about how they soon would be “offering a light and a path, rather than a pathology,” they would be, “ giving patients a chance to look at healing and to be brought to the moment.” Donna Karan always talks about the PATH – Patient Awareness Toward Healing – it’s even in the moment. I was stuck at how the Awareness I was wearing on my shirt is the light she spoke of, illuminating this moment.

I am most charged when I am in the training room. While I am grateful daily for the work that I do, moments like this inspire me to work even harder to bring UZIT to the world.

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Zen at Kerckhoff Hall

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 12:52 Written by Donna Karan Tuesday, 16 April 2013 04:43

yw+ucla main Zen at Kerckhoff Hall

Currently in session is the 3rd cycle of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy at UCLA‘s Kerckhoff Hall. This training is an introduction to the 5 modalities, guiding each trainee toward creating an embodied experience of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapies. Comprised of 50 trainees, cycle 3 includes the in-house staff training of doctors, nurses and allied health care professionals from UCLA. Each trainee has committed to accomplishing 50 hours of clinical rotation hours and on-site visits with a wonderful advantage of having access to patients.

The outcome of this cycle is to prepare the trainees for next month, when they will be practicing the UZIT Self-Care modality integrating their practice inwardly before working with patients throughout the UCLA Health System. Clinical coordinators who are UZITs are on campus at both of UCLA’s hospitals to support the trainees. Because of their vast clinical experience, trainees are also being taught a shortened version of the UZIT program designed specifically for in-hospital staff trainings.

Faculty members currently on-site at UCLA include Master Trainers Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman along with Mary Taylor teaching Contemplative Self Care. UZIT and UCLA faculty member Mary Beth Charno, RN, BSN, OCB, HNB-BC is also attending and supporting this session. All oils used for this training were generously donated by Young Living Essential Oils. Find out more about the UZIT program and where you can take a class here.

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