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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Psychology professor talks about mind-body connection in Israel

A UALR psychology professor recently delivered a talk about the mind-body connection to health and illness at the Beit Ariela Public Library in Tel Aviv.

Dr. Elisabeth Sherwin gave her presentation during a standing-room only gathering of the English Speaking Resident’s Association (ESRA), an international and apolitical non-profit organization for English speaking residents of foreign countries.

elisbeth-sherwin-204x255The talk, “Why Zebras Don’t Have Ulcers: How the Mind-Body Connection Influences Health and Illness,” used as a framework a similarly titled book by renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky, who argued the stress response in humans was literally making us sick.

Sherwin says understanding the mind-body connection is like understanding that a car needs the appropriate fuel in order to work properly. “When you put sugar in your gas tank, the car stalls,” she said.

“The mind-body connection explains how we work, why we break down and what we can, and cannot, fix. I think it also helps us be a better consumer of treatments that might be hoaxes,” Sherwin said.

Sherwin’s area of expertise is health psychology. She has researched issues of adjustment to disability, especially traumatic brain injury, since the mid-1990s.

“You cannot understand traumatic brain injury if you do not understand the mind-body connection,” she said.

More recently, Sherwin has been involved in faculty development and the development of leadership in young women.

Dr. Sherwin earned a Ph.D. in social psychology , and an M.S. degree in clinical psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, where she graduated magna cum laude.