More than a Diagnosis: Using Integrative Approaches for Living with Chronic Illness

photo 1508672019048 805c876b67e2Written by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
November 10, 2021
Published at 

This story originally appeared on

As I sat among my peers during a college study group, I secretly tucked my hand inside my zippered UC Davis sweatshirt and gently massaged my aching stomach.

“Who knows the answer to question B?” a classmate asked …

I raised my free hand and confidently answered the question, almost forgetting about my throbbing abdomen.

Throughout college I was a straight A student. I enjoyed school. My studies not only made me feel purposeful and accomplished, but they distracted me from my uncomfortable body sensations. When my mind was busy memorizing and critically thinking, I disconnected from my chronic pains and traumatic home life and found a way to survive living with myself, inside my body.

However, my escapes from the stress, gurgles, gas, bloating, painful memories and stinging bowel movements were short-lived. Reoccurring worries swarmed my mind constantly. As soon as my distraction ceased, I went right back to asking, “What is wrong with me? Am I going to die? Why can’t my doctors help me?”

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Why I Hate Getting My Hopes Up and What Happened the One Time I Did

little girl hopeWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
August 25, 2021
Published at Tiny Buddha

“This post was republished with permission from You can find the original post here.

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” ~Oprah Winfrey

When I was a little girl, I made many wishes. At first, I believed all of my wishes would come true, just like in the fairy tales my mother read to me before bed. However, slowly but surely, life changed my attitude, stole my optimism, and I stopped wishing.

My parents fought a lot, and their unhappiness made me believe that I was not good enough. Poverty replaced my birthday wishes with socks, the bible, and sheets for my bed.

When my parents divorced, my father abandoned me and I was sure I was broken and unworthy; after all, I believed that if a father could leave his own child, then it must be my fault.

My mother’s hurts turned into bitterness. Criticism, disappointment, and blame replaced her nurturing voice that used to calm my fears. The few wishes I held onto faded into the fog of confusion, fear, self-hatred, and catastrophe.

Instead of wishes, I believed that bad things would always happen to me, and I made an unconscious pact with my mind, body, and spirit to close the door to good things ever happening.

My heartache and grief drained my childhood innocence, and I transformed into a wounded adult, going through the motions of life not feeling or experiencing much of anything and keeping my guard up for the next brick to fall on me.

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Dixie Fire Expresses Indian Valley's Truths

smaller moms houseWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW 

This post was republished with permission from The Davis Enterprise. You can find the original post here

As the Dixie fire blazed through Greenville, California stripping Indian Valley of its innocence and serenity, even before homes turned to ashes, news reporters recruited locals on social media asking them to share pictures of their beloved homes consumed by flames.

The once unknown and almost invisible dot on the map is now front page of the national news. But make no mistakes, this news coverage is fickle. Despite Plumas County’s longstanding socioeconomic hardships, until the fire, no one heard the townspeople’s cries. As Indian Valley struggles to obtain resources and assistance to aid fire victims and the forest’s open wounds, even now, I don’t think people are really listening. Just like Paradise and so many rural communities struck by natural disasters, I suspect Greenville and its sacred valley will once again be forgotten; quite possibly even before I finish writing this article.

Why did total obliteration have to be the reason for Greenville’s newfound fame? Wasn’t the history, majestic landscape, and smalltown magic important enough to feature?

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Don’t Surrender Your “Pandemic Pet,” Instead Discover Ways To Thrive Together

girlcatWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW 

This post was republished with permission from The Animal Rescue Site. You can find the original post here

“If you signed up and adopted or purchased an animal during this last year and a half and used them for your comfort, your safety, and to make you feel better, and loved, and less lonely please give them the respect of taking the time to try and work through the problems that arrive now.”  Larissa Wohl, Pet Rescue Expert

You wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of sharp cries coming from the room next door. You want to cover your ears and go back to sleep, but the cries turn into wails and suddenly you hear a loud CRASH! You turn on the lights and head toward the room. As you walk alongside the bed, you trip over a broken lamp and a few books that belong on the nearby book shelf. You crouch and look underneath the bed. A tiny lump covered by a big blanket, shaking, catches your attention. You slowly reach out your hand, and within minutes your scared little boy pops his head out. You hold him in your arms, reassuring him that you are not going anywhere. He is safe. You know that your child is scared and his reactions are a normal part of life. You are willing to give him everything you have, even lose sleep and go into work late to make sure he is OK. You NEVER consider surrendering him to the local county Children’s Services Agency because he disrupted your sleep and made a mess.

Dog baby

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Owner Releases Post Pandemic

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Larissa Wohl Talks About Animal Rescue During A Pandemic

Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW
July 1, 2021

In this interview I speak with Larissa Wohl, Animal Rescue Expert, about animal rescue conditions and challenges as we end sheltering in place and adjust to life one year after the Covid-19 Pandemic started. Wohl discusses the disadvantages of owner release situations and why it is important owners do everything they can to keep adopted animals in their homes. She offers practical suggestions to help owners and their newly adopted animals adjust to the new routine post pandemic. 

Larissa Wohl ( is a host, reporter, producer, and animal expert. Her extensive background in news & live television made Larissa the perfect fit for Hallmark Channel & their Emmy award-winning lifestyle series, "Home & Family." During her years at Hallmark, she was guest host & daily on-camera Pet Rescue Expert, launching their Adoption Ever After initiative. To date, Larissa has helped over 50,000 pets find their forever homes. In addition to hosting & producing daily segments for "Home & Family" she's starred in many primetime specials like "American Rescue Dog Show, Cat Bowl, Kitten Bowl Live at Super Bowl LII, Tails of Joy, Love Ever After, Hero Dog Awards" & more. Larissa's a frequent guest on Cox Cable's "Animal Zone" & a popular expert for websites, magazines, podcasts and live events. She's also been featured on DailyMailTV, KTLA, KCBS, KABC, WCCO & more.

Dr. David Perlmutter Tells Us Why Gut Health Is Important

Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW
June 11, 2021

In this interview with New York Times Best Selling Author and neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, we discuss the crucial role our gut has in our whole body health. Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain and Brain Maker, among other books, explains that most disease including brain disorders have their roots in gut health---"Sound Mind Through a Sound Gut--" Perlmutter says. Dr. Perlmutter discusses some of the common misconceptions about diet and food choices that get in the way of health and sheds light on the dangers of fructose and uric acid which he covers in more detail in his upcoming book Drop Acid out in February 2022.  This interview will empower you to take charge of your health and make lifestyle choices and changes that optimize health and longevity. Join me in incorporating Dr. Perlmutter's suggestions in our lives.

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Dr. Josh Axe Tells Us Why Gut Health is Important

Written by Casey Hersch, LCSW
June 7, 2021

In this interview with Dr. Josh Axe, founder of the popular natural health website, and co-founder of the supplement company Ancient Nutrition, we talk about the importance of gut health. "We are what we digest," Axe says, and everything from absorption of nutrients to immunity and mood depends on our gut health. Dr. Axe talks about how to use food and lifestyle as medicine and the suggestions incorporate an integrative approach to wellness. Join me in incorporating Dr. Axe's suggestions into our lives! 


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