Molly M. Roberts, MD, MS

Why I’m not afraid to talk about spirituality in holistic healing

From adversity to crippling disability, Dr. Molly Roberts opened herself up to the healing power of the mind-body connection. Now she seeks to educate others about holistic healing and the role that mind, body, emotion, and spirit play.

The Interview

I was pretty holistic right from the start of my medical training. The mind-body connection was very comfortable and near and dear to me and I could go there with people. But what happened in my residency was that I had a pretty severe neck injury that partially paralyzed me. My arms weren’t able to work very well. Trying to finish residency in the midst of this devastating illness and disability was one of the biggest marathons of my life.

I’d always felt very close to my spirituality. It wasn’t something I talked about or did anything with, I really didn’t even have a religion that I attached it to, I just felt connected. And when I had my own injury I felt separate.

Having that happen to me during my residency made it very clear that mind, body, emotion, and spirit were all profoundly connected. If you tapped into all of those you would have a treasure trove of healing potential. I was, at first, worried about going down that path I’d become ‘that doctor’, the one that talked about spiritual issues. And yet what I realized it was part of my journey with that was that I really needed to speak my truth.

What happened was that my colleagues would just sort of whisper to me, “So glad you’re talking about these issues. I’m so glad, I don’t feel like I can go there, but I know it’s important, I know it’s important.” So it really started a dialogue that was very different. These are thoughts that everybody has, and is part of the human condition. Why am I here? What’s my meaning and purpose in life? And that’s often relegated to you can have that conversation with your spiritual advisor over there. But really if you don’t know why you’re here on this planet, it’s really hard to figure out what you are supposed to do with your job. It’s really hard to figure out how you’re supposed to be in relationship with someone else.

I think what happens with medicine is so much of medicine is about what’s wrong with you, and let’s figure out what’s wrong with you, and then see if we can fix it because you’re fundamentally broken in some way we just need to do enough tests to figure it out why it is. There’s something very different about saying, “There’s nothing broken in you, you are whole. And if you don’t feel that, let’s do the journey of helping you to remember that.”


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