Wellness, as a word, can be interpreted in many ways. When we speak of wellness, we talk about health, a state of being that refers to internal and external conditions. When referring to wellness, we often assume that we are talking about physical well-being. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. Maintaining overall wellness requires the harmony of mind, body, and spirit. When all three areas are balanced, we can be happier and healthier. How can we cultivate and maintain optimal wellness?
The head of Research at the Mental Health Coalition, clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow at Lenox Hill Hospital, and psychologist and psychoanalyst Naomi Torres-Mackie take a holistic approach to wellness. Kenneth Cole founded the Mental Health Coalition in early 2020 to address mental health disparities and improve mental health care access. Torres-Mackie’s clinical work focuses on providing mental health care to marginalized populations, including teens, young adults, and ethnic minority groups. Torres-Mackie is also a co-founder of Nascent Consulting. This social justice-focused consulting firm works with organizations and uses strategic consulting to create programs that aim to tap into the existent potential in communities and individuals.
She earned her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Columbia University, where she completed her dissertation on strength construction in the context of stigma and strain. Torres-Mackie continues to utilize her clinical and consulting work to foster social justice, which she said is critical in providing holistic care.
Naomi grew up in a community-oriented family and a close-knit neighborhood. At an early stage of life, she had firsthand experience with prejudice and how it can impact our lives. She says, “I had early and enduring firsthand experiences of what being cast as “other” feel like, and that stuck with me.” She decided to use that as a foundation for her professional work, recognizing that many of the marginalized populations she works with have had similar experiences. Torres-Mackie is passionate about using her clinical, research, and consultative work to provide care for all people.
Along with clinical practice, Naomi considers Yoga Nidra a key component of her wellness regimen. Yoga Nidra is a form of meditation that can help one restore balance to their mind, body, and spirit. This practice allows people to sit in silence while focusing on their breath and clearing out all the thoughts that may be causing distraction from the mind’s internal guidance system. The practice of Yoga Nidra helps people connect to their inner guidance system.
Naomi is passionate about working towards a world where all people can thrive and be healthy. She hopes to provide clinical care and social advocacy that engages all people, communities, and populations. She believes that integrating wellness with compassionate social advocacy will build a world where people can thrive and not depend on physical environments alone.