My commitment to Alchemical Healing grows out of a passionate interest in the question of how human beings transform the challenges of life into opportunities for healing and new possibilities.
My journey began with a love of language, art, and dance that I explored as an undergraduate at Bennington College. This study led to a decade of work as an environmental activist, gardener, and poet and then to the discovery of Chinese medicine. After receiving my Master’s degree from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in 1985, my earlier love of art continued to inform my clinical work with Chinese medicine. For me, creativity, beauty, and self-expression are central to the healing process. My post-graduate work with Gene Gendlin of the Focusing Institute, at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in Manhattan, and nearly twenty years of study with Jungian analyst Nathan Schwartz-Salant bring a psychological dimension to my acupuncture practice.
Despite my interest in Western psychology, I remained committed to the practice of acupuncture and believed that I could find a way to bring Eastern and Western psychological approaches together in the treatment room. My discovery of the Five Spirits – the Taoist version of the chakra system – offered the connecting link. Writing Five Spirits was a journey as well as an initiation that led me to discover a new way of practicing the ancient art of Chinese medicine in contemporary Western settings. For the past sixteen years, I have been delighted to have the opportunity to share my multidimensional approach to healing not only with my patients but also with students at the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in Manhattan, the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto, Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and at conferences and workshops in the UK and Europe as well as through our ongoing Mentorship programs.
I’ve always been fascinated by the potential in people, led by a yearning to grasp what makes us “tick” as individuals. This yearning began with me, of course. As a survivor of sexual abuse, a formative part of my journey has involved recovering a healthy relationship to my body and my sexuality, a discovery of my inherent worth, and a capacity to trust my connection to others. My own process of healing has revealed a passion for building healing community.
At an early age, I experienced a radical shift in consciousness through an extensive immersion in macrobiotics and whole foods cooking that revealed to me the profound personal and global implications of our food choices. This involvement led me through a series of synchronistic events to the study of astrology in the early 1990’s. I have been a student of pioneering Evolutionary Astrologer Steven Forrest for over twenty years and completed the Certificate Program in psychological astrology through the Mercury Internet School of Psychological Astrology (MISPA).
As an undergraduate student at Vermont College of Norwich University, I designed a curriculum focused on psychology, personal transformation, and gender studies. Further training at The Scherer Institute of Natural Healing in New Mexico and through the Zero Balancing Health Association has allowed me the opportunity to support clients as a licensed massage therapist since 2000. My greatest teacher has been the crucible of my relationship to Lorie. I’ve grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined through the co-creation of our Alchemical Healing Mentorship, the writing of our forthcoming book to be published by Red Wheel Weiser in Spring 2020, and our commitment to A New Possibility.
L.Ac. M.S. O.M.m, Program Development
I fell in love with Chinese medicine as soon as I began studying it in 1999, and my interest and respect for this body-mind-spirit healing practice has only deepened during my 17 years of private clinical work. I discovered Chinese medicine via a rather circuitous route. I first pursued a music career (B.A., Graduate Studies, and Diplômes Spécials in music performance), followed by an advertising career at a host of New York City ad agencies (M.B.A. NYU) before finally finding Chinese medicine. I feel like I am a personal testament to “A New Possibility.” So much in my life has transformed in such an alchemical fashion through my work with Lorie over many years, and with Benjamin, more recently. Thus, it gives me great delight to contribute the results of my research and creative work to the online offerings at A New Possibility. I now dedicate myself to my New York City clinical practice, the study and research of Chinese medicine and its alchemical possibilities, as well as the exploration of alternate states of consciousness. My second home is Colorado where I grew up, and now visit quite regularly. I’m in love with its skies, mountains and prairies.
L.Ac., Program Development
My love affair with nature likely began lifetimes ago, but my earliest memories are from growing up as black girl in rural South Jersey. Creeks, steams, trees, rocks, and beaches were my allies. At recess, my best friend and I would crawl into a cubby beneath a tree shrub and listen to her secrets.
This connection to the natural world is the foundation of my passion for indigenous religions. In 2003, I had a life changing experience in the Gambia, West Africa. There, the late Baba Ishangi- a shaman and medicine man- taught me how to have a direct conversation with nature in order to potentize the magic in herbal remedies. Upon my return from West Africa my early 20s, I joined an African based spiritual community called Ausar Auset Society. I spent eight years in their priestess training learning the mystical arts of astrology, divination, meditation, gemstones, yoga and Qi Gong. This was my first introduction to the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine, and the magic literally at our fingertips.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with what was then called Premature Ovarian Failure, and told that it would be impossible to conceive a child. This devastating news was the lead of my alchemical journey, and the prima materia for my soul’s alchemy. Through my healing process, I was introduced to- and fell absolutely in love with- flower essences and acupuncture. These healing modalities reconnected me to the soul of nature living in every cell of my body. Through working this magic, I was able to conceive and give birth to a radiant daughter- my daily reminder that miracles can and do exist.
Since that time, I have been immersed in alchemy and nature-based healing modalities that focus on the intersection of mind and body. Reading the Five Spirits inspired me to pursue a Master of Science from Tri-State College of Acupuncture, and I have studied Alchemical Healing with Lorie and Benjamin for over 8 years. As a yoga teacher, I use music and movement as medicine I am also honored to be the first practitioner in the United States authorized by the Flower Essence Society to offer their practitioner certification training. I created the Elementals line of flower essences to make Five Element principles and flower essences available in our home medicine cabinets.
My goal is to help us to witness the miracle in the mundane, so that we may all connect to the transformative magic that the world is calling for.
Helen Bet Givargis, Program Support
Growing up in the northwest corner of Iran to Assyrian parents was a blessing, where Assyrian,
Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and sometimes Russian danced with and often mixed with the Persian poetic language. In those lands, most physicians of early times had also the title of alchemist, a title well-respected and not taken lightly. These physicians were also learned astrologers, seekers of divine wisdom, and mathematicians as well.
My maternal grandmother was a medicine women of her village, and was famous for healing infections, using what looked to me like black powders, which later I learned was a mixture of burned almonds, bone marrow, walnuts and more. Among her wild repertoire was opium, urine, colostrum, frankincense, and an array of plant essences and local herbs. I was very skeptical!
It was not until I left that part of the world and immersed myself deeply in Western medicine as an IVF Embryologist, and due to my own healing journey, that I began appreciating and diving into wholistic healing, eventually studying Chinese medicine where I met Lorie Dechar as one of my instructors.
Upon graduating in 2007, I joined the Alchemical Healing Mentorship with Lorie and Benjamin. Through my continuous study in the Mentorship over 12 years as well as my personal work with both Lorie and Benjamin, I have undertaken an unimaginable alchemical journey where my life took a turn from a sort of a garden variety slow entropy to what one might call a huge transformation into a new possibility.
I am deeply grateful for the teachings I continue to receive from Lorie and Benjamin and it gives me great pleasure to be part of their support team at A New Possibility. This teaching I carry into my practice and the treatment room, where I get to support my patients in navigating their healing by looking at their health crises as doorways to more wholeness. I am truly humbled and privileged to be a part of this work.
Customer Care Specialist & Marketing Support
Dawn Chitwood joined our team in 2017 and has become an integral part of the inner workings of the online arm of the business. From coordinating our emails to supporting with social media and just about everything tech related, Dawn is on hand to ensure that our members have a smooth customer experience.