Dr. Alina Soto is a highly qualified professional in the field of Mental Health and Naturopathic Medicine. As the founder of the Terra Dusa Academy for Integrative Growth, they aim to help guide individuals towards a greater understanding of themselves and their surroundings. Their unique approach to therapy, Focal Neurocognitive & Physio-emotional Integration Therapy®, acknowledges the interconnectedness of the mind and body. With a background in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience, Dr. Soto emphasizes the importance of recognizing the physical reality of emotions and their effects on the body. Through their work, they aim to empower individuals to move forward in a way that brings transformation that best serves them. MysticMag finds out more.
Can you tell us about Terra Dusa’s approach to mental health treatment and how it differs from traditional approaches?
When I created Terra Dusa, my approach was to develop a mental healthcare service that focused on all aspects of mental health rather than just symptom management. My goal was to understand the root cause of mental health issues and help individuals move forward towards resolution.
I believe that mental health is not about never feeling bad again, but rather having the resilience and flexibility to navigate difficult situations. This philosophy forms the basis of my approach, which is called focal neurocognitive and physio emotional integration. By integrating all aspects of mental health, I aim to help individuals transition from a state of misery to understanding the why and how to navigate these events.
How do you ensure that your patients receive whole-person treatment that takes into account their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being?
In my practice, I focus a lot on education, which is why I launched the Terra Dusa Academy for Integrative Growth. I find that many people come in without a good understanding of how the mind affects the body. The mind isn’t just in the brain, it’s throughout the body, in the plexuses. We even talk about gut feelings, which is linked to the gut plexus and can create psycho-emotional presentations. Similarly, the heart plexus does the same thing. Research shows that the body reflects the mind and vice versa.
Education is essential to understanding how the brain works, how psychology works, and what happens when we feel or think things. Many people don’t realize that emotionality is physically real, with actual blood vessel changes, temperature changes, and chemicals coursing throughout the body. It’s important to understand this physical reality, as separating emotionality from oneself won’t get you anywhere.
Once someone has more understanding, they feel more empowered to take action and make choices. In traditional approaches to psychology, people often seek a cure or something that will take their pain away. However, the reality is that we have a choice in how we affect what we do. This can even mean recognizing that we need help in a particular moment and knowing which types of people can actually help us. Traditionally, we tend to move away from this notion of choice and follow a standard of care, but recognizing that we have a choice can be empowering.
In your experience, what are some of the most common mental health issues that you see among your patients, and how do you help them address these issues?
As a mental health professional, my specialty is trauma and traumatic stress. I often work with people who have experienced significant childhood trauma or a traumatic event that has impacted their lives. In the field of trauma research, it’s clear that an event can create a loop in the nervous system, where the past keeps repeating itself over and over again. So, we work to resolve that loop and move towards a better situation.
What I’ve noticed in my practice is that it’s not just stereotypical traumatic events that can impact a person’s mental health. Even common difficult events, like a bad divorce, can have a significant impact if not approached and understood properly. It’s important to recognize the originating event or impact and how it affects a person’s life choices and overall lifestyle. By addressing that underlying issue, we can see positive changes downstream in a person’s mental health and well-being.
Terra Dusa offers a broad scope of tools for mental health treatment. Can you describe some of these tools and how they can be effective in treating different mental health issues?
A lot of what I offer revolves around the idea of encompassing the whole person. I offer services like Heart Rate Resonance which is a component of Heartmath, which I particularly enjoy because it helps people recognize that calming down the body can lead to a calmer mind. Sometimes people don’t notice any changes from the breathing exercises, but they suddenly feel more confident and start making positive changes in their life.
I also incorporate spiritual aspects into my practice because I believe in helping people recognize the teacher within and their own symbolism. I aim to build up a sense of agency and choice in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Ultimately, I want to encompass all these aspects to help people move forward.
How do you measure the success of your mental health treatment programs, and what kind of outcomes have you seen among your patients?
I find the question interesting because I don’t use traditional measures. However, what I have noticed is that people seem to appreciate my approach. It’s almost like a case-by-case basis, where I can see individuals taking more initiative in their own lives. This is how I track progress – by observing how confident someone becomes in recognizing that, even though they may still be dealing with difficult situations, they can still choose to do things that give them energy, help them look forward to the future, and create the life or situation they want.
Watching people evolve in this way is beautiful to me, as I see them go from feeling trapped and hopeless to feeling like they can navigate their challenges and take actions they were previously too afraid to take. For me, this shows change and progress, which is not something that is typically measured in traditional ways such as monitoring frequency of depression or heart palpitations. Instead, I pay attention to how confident someone feels about their future and their ability to make choices for themselves.